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Mickey Bridges
It's About time

Young Adult; Memoir; (Market)

It's About Time is a memoir about a boy coming of age in Compton, California in the 1950s and 60s. Readers who expect the usual blend of family experiences and social integration will find that Mickey Bridges provides an unusually harrowing and detailed story. It follows a boy who finds himself on the wrong side of the tracks, heading for disaster as he impregnates a girl, drops out of school, moves in and out of prison, and eventually lands in a federal penitentiary.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7.25 out of 10


Plot/Idea: Bridges’s memoir evokes the backstreet grit of a life of drugs, addiction, and crime. His writing will transport readers to the streets with him, giving them a front seat to his pain—and eventual triumph.

Prose: Bridges is unflinching when it comes to portraying the ups and downs of his life, particularly the brutal circumstances of his childhood and the agonizing consequences of his choices. His prose takes on a lighter feel when describing the profound impact of his spirituality.

Originality: It’s About Time offers an insider’s perspective, from a tragically young age, of a life filled with bad breaks, poor choices, and crime. The author’s voice is powerfully candid in its descriptions and reflections.

Character/Execution: Bridges pens a haunting narrative that will jar readers with its very realness. The transformation that takes place offers hope for even the darkest moments.

Date Submitted: January 25, 2023

This frank, often raw memoir from Bridges, a musician and counselor, charts with rare candor a childhood descent into drugs and crime. Growing up in the Compton neighborhood of Los Angeles in the 1950s and ‘60s, Bridges loved playing saxophone and helping out his parents at their record store, but trouble was never far away—in fact, his father, “a natural born hustler,” ran a gambling parlor in the back room of the shop. Bridges links his own acting out to his parents’ painful breakup. He relished few things more than riding around with a friend, “listening to jazz music on the radio and getting high on weed.” He experimented with sex early—adventures recounted in unflinching scenes that can be hard to read—and at age sixteen ran away from the McCobb Home for Boys when he learned of his girlfriend’s pregnancy.

By 25, he was serving time in federal prison on drug-related charges. He sold and indulged in increasingly potent narcotics in Compton, of course, but also San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury and Chicago’s Old Town. The list of his products and addictions suggests a shorthand history of the era’s American counterculture: marijuana, hallucinogens—he saw Jimi Hendrix at Monterey while on acid—but also, inevitably, heroin and cocaine, which he took intravenously. It’s About Time documents the gangs and distributors of these drugs, the culture around them, the impossibility of getting straight without help. When he fled to the Air Force, hoping for a path out, he was quickly discharged for the drugs in his blood rather than helped.

The memoir opens and closes with impassioned thanks to God for helping the older Bridges get back on the path, and there’s inspirational power in the story of how he won early release through a program designed to help incarcerated people complete four year degrees. More insight into that experience and his life after would have been welcome, though the storytelling here has weight.

Takeaway: This vivid memoir digs deep into a troubled Compton upbringing.

Great for fans of: Lynne Isbell, Rebecca Pantaleon, and Bonita Bradshaw’s Black, Brown, and White: Stories Straight Outta Compton, Kevin “Salt Rocc” Lewis’s Born and Raised in the Streets of Compton.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A