Allegedly, Tupac had a serious reading list and All God’s Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence happens to be on it. Having no clue about the Bosket family or their past crimes, Fox Butterfield exposes us to how genealogical factors, environment, and a heaping of racism causes dire criminal side effects. Surprise.
What’s left when your family and every other system in place fails you? Can you overcome trauma? I wanted a happy ending for the Boskets, but by the end I was disgusted that nobody could save any of them. Let alone, they couldn’t even save themselves from what fate had in store. My drive to finish the book was the simple hope that the Bosket men would find reform. Beginning as early as the 1800s with the first of the Bosket’s bloodline, the saga focuses on the interlocking stories of Pud, James, then Butch, and finally Willie.
Institutionalized as early as 9 years old for various petty crimes and wild behaviors, the Bosket legacy eventually ends with Willie’s life sentence in prison. Sadly, the psychiatrists decided early on that “Willie was destined to wander from institution to institution, each time acting up so that the people in charge would dump him, sending him on to someplace else. He had become the boy no one could help.” This is still happening to black boys today.
Someone mentioned that this book is required reading because Willie’s actions significantly changed the juvenile justice system. Without getting too deep into the details and crimes, I’ll say this was an emotional and dark read for me, but one that I highly recommend. Find out more about the information I omitted by reading the book–or watching the quick video below.
Happy reading y’all.
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