This book is based on the life of a real child living in Rio de Janeiro. The Asphalt Angels are a gang of street kids. The book recounts the story of one 13 year old boy, Alex (not his real name), how he ended up on the streets, how he learned to survive, and how he came to be part of the Asphalt Angels.
It is a terribly sad story for the most part. Incredibly inciteful and relavant to our work here. I knew all the places they went to, I can put faces on the kids and cops, and in a way it gave some perspective as to why the people of Rio are so afraid of the kids and look at me like I am a circus freak when I am casually hanging out with the kids. For details read blog from last week "circus freak."
I am really glad Holtwijk put for the effort to capture this young man's story. The lives of these kids are not dispensible and their story needs to be made known.
A Quote: "We are not criminals. Criminals are the rich steal and the police who kill. We steal to live. And the street belongs to everybody. We aren't leaving, because this is our home. We have just as much right as everybody else. Nobody has to worry about us because we take care of ourselves. We help one another. We, the Asphalt Angels don't die. Because when we die, There'll be new Asphalt Angels." (pg. 131)