On The Edge Of The Water Teens growing up in modern America face challenges daily that help them grow into a productive member of society. In the book, Edgewater Angels by Sandro Meallet, the story is set in the projects of San Pedro, California, a heavily gang influenced town that is a part of Los Angeles. The book exposes the youthfulness of Sunny Toomer, a mischievous teen always faced with the decision between right and wrong in a neighborhood where you can get jumped for walking on the wrong side of the street.
Sunny is just trying to find a way out of this life-style he was born into. Not such an easy task when you grow up with a single mother who works hard to provide for her son, and a father who has met his son only a few times. Sunny and his friends face a lot of challenges throughout the novel and they always manage to find a way to weasel themselves out of it with the help of Sunny’s cleverness and ability to think on his feet. Sunny Toomer’s goal that he wishes to achieve is to get out of San Pedro and live a good life.
Edgewater Angels is both heartwarming and exciting because where the author set the story (San Pedro), the use of the character Tom-Su, and Sunny Toomer’s library that he spends most of his free time. The story takes place in the projects of San Pedro, California. San Pedro is known for gang violence and drug trafficking. The main character Sunny Toomer and his friends all live here. Having the story take place in such a low-income neighborhood really sets the tone for the whole book. It makes the reader really connect emotionally to Toomer because of his dream is to succeed in school and eventually live a better life.
I feel bad for him because it’s hard enough to have goals and aspirations as a kid. It’s especially hard for Toomer because of where he lives. Basing the book in San Pedro also makes for a lot of entertainment for the reader. Toomer and his friends face problems and dilemmas throughout Edgewater Angels like when Beefy was about to fight Monet and the Sunny came up with the idea to have a swim off. That showed how even rival gang members in a diverse community can get together for some friendly competition.
The way Sunny matures throughout the book intrigued me as a reader because I know that even though this book is fiction, there are situations like this in L. A. Meallet At the very beginning of the book, a character was briefly introduced but was significant. His name is Tom Su. Tom Su was a little weird but liked to hangout with the boys. So the boys let him hang out with them as a nice gesture. One day, they boys saw Tom Su standing outside his apartment with his dad. They were yelling back and forth for a while and then the dad hit Tom Su.
This shocked the boys and they didn’t know what to do. They thought their parents were rough until they saw what Tom Su had to go through daily. Meallet included this character into the book because child abuse is a real problem in America but a lot of people either are not aware or do not do anything about it. Tom Su was a character but also a symbol because he represented all of the kids in America that are abused but do not speak up and get help. Sunny strives to be a good student and get good grades. So he spends a lot of time studying and reading.
However, those things aren’t so easy to accomplish when you live where Toomer lives, so he had to find an alternate place to go when he needed to study. The library was that place for him because it was “a place where workers got happy-faced at the site of a young guy like me (Toomer) walking through the door”. (121) Toomer loved the library so much that he was in the library every chance he could get. The library was like the missing piece to his puzzle because he could get away from his mom’s boyfriend who he hated and get peace and quiet while he works on his studies.
I have had ADD almost my whole life and it has really effected my studies and school work. I just couldn’t focus at home and that would result in me not finishing homework and then reflect poorly on my grades. Like Toomer, I also needed to find somewhere I could go to study and do homework. My mom works as an elementary school teacher and she has a huge classroom with an enclosed office space in the back. My mom would let me go in there whenever I wanted because that was the only place I could ever get anything done.
After about a month of countless hours in the office space, I saw a huge improvement in my grades and I developed really good study habits. I really connected with this part of the book because I could relate to Toomer and his situation. Edgewater Angels painted a perfect picture of how it is to be a teenager and grow up living in the projects of L. A. This story was important because a lot of people are not aware of living conditions of the families living in the projects. Its not like they chose the gangbanging life, many teenagers were born into it and had family members in a gang.
There are not a lot of options for them to get out and start a brand new life. So its rare to find a kid like Toomer, that had all the tools to become a delinquent and a so called “thug”, who strives to become a better student and live a better life. That is the overall message that Meallet is trying to display, If you work hard enough at something your passionate about, you can achieve it. This book has definitely opened my eyes to the world and spreads awareness of the living conditions some Americans live.