The growing concern over the resurgence of street gang violence in the Los Angeles area makes Viva Chicano even more significant today than it was at its publication in 1970. Current press coverage of California's gang violence reveals the same problems portrayed in Viva Chicano.
Because he bases his works of fiction on firsthand experience with young people and the adult professionals who deal with them on a daily basis, Bonham's stories ring true. Keeny Duran, the protagonist of Viva Chicano, is clearly a composite of many troubled youths trying to maintain their pride and individuality in a hostile environment.
Keeny's dilemma transcends both time and place, demonstrating that the understanding needed to make headway against gang mentality has not changed over the years.
Other writers have proposed a variety of theories about and solutions to the gang problem. Bonham's unique approach maintains that only when society puts aside...