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Library Journal Review: The Rat That Got Away

12th November 2009

Library Journal ran a great review of The Rat That Got Away: A Bronx Memoir:

Jones, Allen & Mark Naison. The Rat That Got Away: A Bronx Memoir . Fordham Univ. 2009. c.224p. illus. ISBN 978-0-8232-3102-7. $29.95. AUTOBIOG
Jones pursued two successful careers in Europe: professional basketball player and banker. If you met him, you might not guess he spent his teen years as a heroin dealer in New York. His memoir, written with Naison (history & African American studies, Fordham Univ.) focuses on his experiences growing up in a Bronx public housing project, playing serious basketball, ignoring school, dealing and doing drugs, and eventually lucking into a series of experiences that led to a professional basketball career in Europe. Jones credits his success to his supportive family, coaches, and neighborhood elders, but ultimately his is a tale of luck. The young Jones makes rash decisions, avoids his responsibilities, lies, and steals but also encounters many unlikely second chances. In another writer’s hands, this blessed triumph-over-adversity story line might be trite and irritating, but Jones draws readers in with his direct, conversational style, and the tale is gripping even though readers know it will end well. VERDICT Recommended for memoir lovers and anyone interested in a first-person perspective on 1960s-era urban adolescence. —Emily-Jane Dawson, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR