"LeBlanc is economical in her general observations...but those she ventures feel earned and fresh. She's particularly sharp on the culture of prison wives and prison visits....She's good, too, at pinning down certain elusive cultural attitudes....In truth, you wouldn't want every book about poverty to be like LeBlanc's. As good as it is at foiling simple-minded or overly optimistic social reform schemes, there's a kind of Dreiserian fatalism about it. Its very dedication to portraying the multiplicity of hurdles, the bewildering entanglement of personal failure and structural inequality that marks lives like Coco's allows a kind of exhaustion to creep in, not so much in the reader as in the would-be policy maker. Some books have to be fueled by a kind of optimism, even if that means turning your eyes away from some of the details. Still, this is a painstaking feat of reporting and of empathy, and in a way its tight focus and scant context seem true to the insularity of the culture LeBlanc brings to light here."LeBlanc, Adrian Nicole is the author of 'Random Family Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx', published 2004 under ISBN 9780743254434 and ISBN 0743254430.