Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz

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Arte Público Press, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz spins a gripping tale of one woman's private war to find her own identity and escape the pull of the street gangs that have carved her barrio into turfs where one misstep can lead to violence. This engrossing account traces the crests and dips in the path of Mona Ruiz's life - a life that forced her to assume contradicting roles: gang chola, high school drop-out, battered wife, welfare mother, student, cop, disowned daughter, policewoman and finally success story.

No matter how desolate her prospects were, the Santa Ana native always knew a better life could be hers. When she was a child, her father once told her that police officers were "soldiers of Christ" and the image never left her mind. Despite hostility from the local cops who didn't like her looks or background, Mona made her unlikely dream come true. She now wears a badge as well as a gang tattoo. She is now an protector on the same streets where she once ran with the predators. A monument to courage, this compelling story well serve as an example for all women and all youth in crisis.

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``We had come very far from the land of our dreams,'' muses one of the characters in this deft volume of nine stories. ``Each of us, in some tiny, fractured way, would always be homesick.'' This first ... Read full review


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About the author (1997)

Geoff Boucher is a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

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