I have every current Oregon Book Award contestant book I can find sitting in a pile on my table. I spent yesterday reading All God’s Children, Inside the Dark and Violent World of Street Families, by Rene Denfield. A well- written, important and compelling book. Denfield focuses on a particular Portland group of street kids that was violent, sadistic, and disturbingly anonmic.
anomic—alienation and purposelessness experienced by a person or a class as a result of a lack of standards, values, or ideals
I hung out with street kids when I left home at 17 and lived in Madison, but in those days it was all peace and love. I don’t think anyone would have tortured or killed anyone else, or burned them up or killed their dog. We saw ourselves as part of a revolution. We were the real thing, the ones who had left our families, who had left school and everything we knew, who didn’t need any of it. We were inspired by Jerry Rubin. He never talked about killing anyone, from what I can recall, but Anita Hoffman did say we would dance on their graves. It was a metaphor, I think.