Larceny in My Blood

Larceny in My Blood

A Memoir of Heroin, Handcuffs, and Higher Education

Book - 2012
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A fully illustrated graphic memoir of a child of the '60s who was raised into a life of crime and addiction --but graduated into freedom.

Matthew Parker was in his mid-forties when he started college. He'd been sidetracked: Eleven years were eaten up by serving time in various county jails, state penitentiaries, and federal prison. He'd been arrested more than thirty times, racking up eight felonies in a crime career that began at age thirteen, when he started dealing pot. When he got out of prison for the last time and kicked his heroin addiction, he was determined to spend the next chapter of his life in the classroom. And he did just that, going on to complete a master's degree from Columbia University's highly competitive creative writing program.Through captivating black-and-white illustrations drawn in a distinctively primitive style, Larceny in My Blood flashes back on Parker's childhood, with memories of a loving but lawless mother teaching him that breaking the law was the way to survive. From there it moves to an account of Parker's lost decades, where he resorted to petty crime to support a heroin habit. After years of fighting the system, Parker sees the light and Larceny in My Blood becomes a poignant portrait of a man trying to find his way in the straight and narrow. A unique memoir, Parker's images and words form a mesmerizing road to redemption.
Publisher: New York : Gotham Books, 2012
ISBN: 9781592406623
Characteristics: 280 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 23 cm


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Feb 09, 2019

Part jailhouse memoir and part journey into higher education. It's always compelling to witness character transformation such as Parker's, from a life of petty crime and drugs to writing assignments and group projects toward post-graduate education. Gives hope to the rest of us, I guess. The artwork is rough but earnest, switching between prison life (of which there is a lot to learn) and life in college (also a lot to learn, with plenty of bureaucratic tedium, particularly for an ex-con). Some parts of this narrative felt winding; some, in tame 2-D depiction, left me wondering just how Parker made it out of his sordid world alive. And then, at the end of it all, I found myself holding the book in my hands, the product of that very personal struggle, and then I'm just plain impressed. Massive kudos to the people like this author who fight the good fight.

WGTaylor Sep 26, 2012

Individual panel sections were very good; but as a whole, the book's disjointed and rambling.


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