Juan Bobo History Lesson: Piri Thomas

Posted: July 23, 2013 in Recent Posts
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Juan bobo

Juan Bobo History Lesson:

Piri Thomas

In 1967, a raw and disturbing autobiography was published by Knopf Doubleday. It was called Down these Mean Streets by Piri Thomas.

A Puerto Rican ex-felon, Piri wrote a scathing account of his East Harlem childhood, and the choices he made which landed him in prison. The language was sharp and unvarnished. The publisher saw great dramatic value in giving Piri free rein, to tell his story in his own vernacular.

The book caught on and has been in print ever since, for nearly fifty years. Martin Scorcese’s second feature film, Mean Streets, borrowed its title and ambience.

The New York Times celebrated its dysfunction, calling it “a report from the guts and heart.”

There is clearly more to the Puerto Rican (or any) experience than crime, drugs, prison and family dysfunction. But Piri was ghetto fabulous, Piri delivered the “real deal,” and Piri got published.

Here is a YouTube video about the life and work of Piri Thomas:

The Chronicles of Juan Bobo

  1. Cedric McClester says:

    Piri was a stone cold con, womb to tomb. Three cheers to the silver tongue.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s