Bullies: A Friendship by Alex Abramovich

I absolutely loved this. The book started when the author reconnected with one of his childhood bullies, who had grown up to lead a motorcycle club in Oakland. They get to know each other again, and their complicated friendship is the center of the story. Abramovich and his girlfriend moved out to California and he gets involved in this scene.

I love how human relationships are woven through the history of the city, demonstrating how these things must be put in relationship to each other. The way we relate to other people is connect to space and location. It starts as the story of an odd friendship, it grows to be a portrait of a scene, before expanding to take on larger ideas of gentrification, history, and the occupy movement. It’s one of the best accounts of Occupy that I’ve ready, capturing the promise, frustration, and whimsy.

It’s wonderfully written, and gives you a lot to think about. It manages to hold on to a sense of scale incredibly well, always centering people in order to maintain perspective while looking at larger things. It’s about how people change and grow, and how Oakland is changing, and how these two journeys interact. It’s a really wonderful book.

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