I just finished reading " Imani All Mine" by Connie Porter. Its about a world I knew existed on the fringes of this affluent society (where you do not stop to ask for directions for fear of getting mugged) . A world of food stamps and bad neighbourhoods, of drug dealers and teenage mothers. The protagonist of the book is a 15 year old mother ( I kept thinking of myself at that age and a strange knotty feeling would develop in my stomach). The book is written in complete slang and that makes it a little cumbersome to get through. The book presents its characters with a certain amount of witticism and does not moralise or judge them or their circumstances. I never know what to make of books like this. Am I supposed to feel sad, feel guilty or may be just sorry that Imani died, that Tasha has no hope for a better life, that Earlene is on welfare? Half way through I realised the book is set in Chicago- that part of Chicago, Abhishek pointed out to us of from his apartment in downtown Chicago. It could have been set in DC for all I care. This made me angry - that lives such as these are lead in cities all over America -which is busy exporting freedom to the rest of the world and extolling the virtues of gender equality. Equality without freedom from fear is a no brainer and in that the women of Tasha's world are no different than the women in Afghanistan.