I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
I have to say, this book is everything you ever wanted to know about drug dealers in the ghetto of New York in the 1980s.
The only problem for me is that I never really aspired to know this stuff. It's fascinating in a car wreck type way, but mostly it's sad. So many young people with brains and ambition trapped in poverty, their only way out through crime.
It's a tough read, y'all.