A Review by Javier Rivera, host of Radio show Esencia Latina, Rochester's Jazz 90.1 FM. Sat.6-10am.

Lucky Me The Life and Times of Lucky Cesar by Julio Jordan

Are we a product of our own environment or are we a product of our own decisions?

Julio Jordan aka "Lucky Cesar" takes the reader to a journey, where a pre-teen is growing up in one of the worst times in the Bronx during the AIDS and Crack epidemic of the late 80's.

Jordan with his unique writing style, involves the reader in all of the situations that a typical kid who grew up with nothing, survived the day to day struggles of life with a background full of drugs, violence and death and hoping for a life much better than what he had. Jordan tells it like it was, with its smells, colors and tastes, describing every detail of moments that one way or another changed his life to become the man that he is today.

A look back to a life who the author considers himself lucky to be alive and did not become another statistic even when the odds where favorable to either go to jail or die in the streets. He describes how the friends he grew up with were not able to escape the jaws of easy money, or the addiction to drugs. How people were getting killed for small amounts of money or with no regard to the value of life. He saw and felt at a young age the damage that these problems could do to families and neighborhoods and to him.

Not all was gloom and doom. There were touching snippets while you read that will give you moments of hope and sometimes a lump in your throat, making you realize how Lucky some of us are in this world, who have a roof over our heads and a fridge stocked full of food while others have to survive in order to get by another day.

By the end of the book, Jordan comes to what he calls "a fork in the road." Up to this point, life has taught him to stay away from the road that others have failed. Will he make the right turn and continue to strive and achieve what others in his neighborhood haven't or we'll he make the left turn and fall prey into the abyss that most of his friends never were able to escape from? A decision that will change his life forever! What will it be? You have to read the book to find out!


Javier Rivera

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-Javier Rivera