It Calls You Back by Luis J. Rodriguez
An Odyssey through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing

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Luis Rodriguez, author of the award-winning and bestselling classic memoir Always Running, chronicles his harrowing journey from a drugged-out gang member to one of the most revered figures in Chicano literature.

Hundreds of thousands of readers came to know Luis J. Rodriguez through his fearless classic, Always Running, which chronicled his early life as a young Chicano gang member surviving the dangerous streets of East Los Angeles. The long-awaited follow-up, It Calls You Back is the equally harrowing story of Rodriguez starting over, at age eighteen, after leaving gang life—the only life he really knew.

The book opens with Rodriguez’s final stint in jail as a teenager and follows his struggle to kick heroin, renounce his former life, and search for meaningful work. He describes with heartbreaking honesty his challenges as a father, and his difficulty leaving his rages and addictions completely behind. Even as he breaks with “la vida loca” and begins to discover success as a writer and an activist, Rodriguez finds that his past—the crimes, the drugs, the things he’d seen and done—has a way of calling him back.

When his oldest son is sent to prison for attempted murder, Rodriguez is forced to confront his shortcomings as a father, and to acknowledge how and why his own history is repeating itself, right before his eyes.

Deeply insightful and beautifully written, It Calls You Back is an odyssey through love, addiction, revolutions, and healing.

About Luis J. Rodriguez

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The son of Mexican immigrants, Luis J. Rodríguez began writing in his early teens and has won national recognition as a poet, journalist, fiction writer, children's book writer, and critic. Rodríguez helped create Tia Chucha's Café & Centro Cultural. Visit
Published October 4, 2011 by Touchstone. 338 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Crime. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In this brilliantly jagged sequel to the gang-life classic, Always Running (1994), acclaimed journalist, poet and fiction writer Rodriguez (Music of the Mill, 2005, etc.) chronicles his struggle to leave behind a drug- and crime-ridden world that always threatened to “call him back.” An acute p...

Aug 28 2011 | Read Full Review of It Calls You Back: An Odyssey...

Publishers Weekly

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L.A. author and poet Rodriguez has written extensively on his redemptive turn from gang warfare and jail to self-awareness and community activism (Always Running). Here he deliberates pointedly on tha

Sep 05 2011 | Read Full Review of It Calls You Back: An Odyssey...

Publishers Weekly

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His early life was no exception from this depressing pattern of failure: born to hardworking Mexican immigrants, a member of Las Lomas gang, pumped up on drugs, he served some months in jail in 1973 for assaulting police officers.

Sep 05 2011 | Read Full Review of It Calls You Back: An Odyssey...

Portland Book Review

I bet you will find something that will interest you 5 stars for a cleverly devised mystery set in PDX a must read for the tween reader in your family Luis Rodriguez’s is the author of the best-seller Always Running, which detailed his...

Apr 27 2012 | Read Full Review of It Calls You Back: An Odyssey...

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