01 The Write Elements: Sneak review of Children of Las Vegas

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Sneak review of Children of Las Vegas


The international edition of Children of Las Vegas will be launched on 12 Nov this year.

That being said I've already read it - cause I had to help with the publicity side of the launch - FOUR times thus far.
I'm not one for non-fiction, so to get a chance to hear the stories of the 10 children who have grown up in Vegas was an eye-opener. I actually wish it was fiction because it's horrifying to think this happened to kids. For any kid who can't control their circumstance and grew up in an undesirable environment (and I'm talking about those refugees and destitute lands too of course) I feel so sorry.
It's why I was grateful to read the book and be part of the team that's about to bring it to the world. It makes you realise you're damn privileged - or at least I am, no matter my own harsh circumstances.
My mom's been there for me.
Of course, having such a 'real' book makes it difficult to read it more than once. Believe me. Though I did manage to gain new insight and learn more about the now adults after going through it a few times. From what you think you know, it intensifies it.
Not all the stories were well-written, just cause I didn't like the tone and style. But for the ones which are, do give this book a chance.Or at least borrow it.
Then look for one that talks about people in war-torn countries. Continue having the feel~

Some quotes from the stories which I found were stronger:

She had six different credit cards running up debt at the same time. She bought things, she gambled. She said she deserved it because she supported everyone else when my dad was out of work and she was everybody’s slave.
When my grandparents and aunt left, my mom would stay on [at the casino]. She’d say she’d be along soon but she didn’t come and when they went back the next day she’d still be sitting there.
She’d have taken out all the money she could get on her ATM and credit cards.
I remember my mom's warmth ... I went to her for everything. 
Even if she's there it's not her ... That's what hurts me the most. She's so close, right next to me and I want it so bad but...she's not there. 

It wasn’t that there wasn’t money coming in. She worked and my dad always sent child support payments.
But there was never any food in the house. We’d go days eating peanut butter out of a jar with a spoon. She’d eat in casino restaurants. One day she came back with a bag of leftovers and we were hungry and asked her if we could have some. “No,” she said. “That’s mine.”
If she’d won I’d get lunch money, if she’d lost I wouldn’t.
She screamed, threw things, kicked holes in the wall. Nobody ever wanted to come to our house, ever
There wasn’t anything to make me realize this was abnormal, except sometimes when teachers asked if I was all right. They could see my clothes, that I was hungry, that I never did homework. They must have suspected that something was wrong at home. But I didn’t get it. I was too young. It was just normal life to me.
But when I came back home the pressure was on and I felt I had to hold everything in. There was some kind of unstated law that said I wasn’t allowed to be angry, that I was supposed to be happy all the time because everyone else was falling apart.

The money just goes, evaporates, like it’s been sucked into some hole in the sky or earth. My dad’s paycheques go from debts and what he gambles and then he gets these payday loans. It’s constantly a desperate situation
He’s taken money from my sister. He’s had my graduation money, my savings, my student loans.
Once I phoned him to check my account and when he had my log-in details he transferred money from my account to his. He’s taken money from my pockets. I still had $60 after being on vacation with a friend’s family and when I looked later it was gone.
I love him very much, he’s a wonderful man, but it’s… frustrating.
My parents didn’t have time to pay attention to us. They were too absorbed in their addictions.
I know they feel bad. My mom cries
We were sitting in the car once and I felt so desperate about it and I was pleading with him, “Don’t you care about us? Why don’t you stop? Can’t you see that you’re killing us? Don’t you love us?”
He’d always say, “I’m sorry.”
It makes me feel bad to live in a city based on something that takes so much from people. 
When I drive I try to look at the mountains rather than the Strip.   
It’s hard to grow up here, or even want to, when your parents are falling apart. 

She stole from a woman whose house we were living in for a while and told the woman I did it. She stole all the money my sister had put away to get married.
Nobody can figure it out. Why is she like this? Why doesn’t she care about anybody? Why was she just this absence in our lives for all these years when we needed her so much? We can’t even figure out what she does with the money.
We’re all linked together in this gigantic train wreck.
People are quick to deceive. They’re skilled at it. They have second lives.
People just haemorrhage their resources into it.
I feel very insecure, like I’m just waiting for things to fall apart. It’s difficult to live in a place you can’t stand.
But this is something else. This feels like some disease that’s on your skin. They say, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” But it’s not true. I think it’s going to stay with me forever, wherever I go. I don’t trust people. I’m full of anger towards the people who hurt me. 
I hope people will read it so they know what it costs to grow up in this place the world treats like a playground. I don’t look at the Strip and think, “Oh, look at the pretty lights. I want to go and play.” I hate it. I want it to go away. We’re the city that prides itself on moral corruption. It’s like, “We suck, come and visit us.” It’s this Disneyland for malfunctioning grown-ups.

    Read my copy, the advance order is ready! 
Children of Las Vegas is ready to show you what it's really like in Sin City. Hear from the real voices of those living in Vegas - when they were just children. 

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