The story takes place from Peter, the older brother’s perspective, of the three days leading to his younger brother, Archie’s funeral. Memories of what directed him and his brother to their outcomes and dreams of what should have been interrupt the long three days. Peter’s guilt of leaving his brother in the streets finally snapped a long and delicate psychosis he had with blaming the rich for the problems of the world. Growing up punk rock in NYC during the late eighties, Peter had always seen the rich as manipulating and exploiting his kind, the working class, and also recognized them as the cause of his street life, no matter how many times his own kind tried to convince otherwise. He states in the book that enlightened people with real choices don’t “choose” to remain ignorant and exist meaningless attached to human qualities that resemble animals.
Peter’s anger toward a class of people that created the misery and hardships of his working class Brooklyn neighborhood sent him raging into the streets at sixteen. He watched his mother and father struggle to put food on the table by working tirelessly for bosses in restaurants that seen them as lower human beings. That work-shit-work existence bled the life out of his parents and the anger logically fell downward to their kids. They worked themselves mindlessly to gain some sort monitory pile that could make the family feel accomplished and significant. In doing so-it made the brothers feel fake – so they rebelled. They joined gangs. They found a true family with the angry hardcore music scene.
A Rebel Life Book PlatePeter was on the streets at sixteen, tattooed from neck to fingers by eighteen, living in squats, uneducated, in gangs, and drunk most of the time. He searched for meaning to his life, by embracing the nihilistic thinking of the punk rockers and anarchists that littered the lower east side streets of Manhattan. At the end of a drug filled stupor and almost a decade of pain and violence, Peter was faced with the decision to leave the streets or die on them. Like the rest of his life of being forced into situations he had no control over, his environment pushed him out of the streets because as much as he tried, he wasn’t dying in them. The shootings, stabbings and overdoses were just aggravating the pain. Peter left his brother and friends behind and began to conform to a system he had sworn to be against.
After another ten years and an obsession of education to understand the cause of his working class existence, the world shifted again for Peter when his brother was found dead of a drug overdose. His conclusion that the corrupt and unfair system they were caught in from birth, was from the direct manipulation of a wealthy class to maintain their status. Peter has declared in his book that his brother was indirectly murdered because he went against this system. And since murderers need to be brought to justice, Peter’s dilemma is how to make this happen. At the moment of the news of his brother’s death, Peter’s mind split into two personalities; one, of an old violent way of needing revenge and the other of a new civilized approach. The book is a ride inside Peter’s mind as these two forces do battle.
This memoir is not only Peter’s experiences of a street gang, violent and drug filled life, but also a call to the only person he sees that can bring any meaningful justice for his brother’s murder. He doesn’t simply want blood for blood since this is another way to keep his kind ignorant and down. He wants the corrupt system to end. Peter’s revenge is raising a true rebel that will change the world once and for all.