Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze

*This website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn a small commission when you click through affiliate links. Please read more in our disclaimer.

Recommended by Rachel Miller(@Miss00M)

Form and genre: Autofiction

Length: 336 pages

Summary: The author tells his story of living his double life: going to university to study English Literature and being part of a gang in London.

Waterstones – An unflinching depiction of the perpetual violence of London’s streets written from brutal first-hand experience. ‘Who They Was’ explores themes of honour and revenge, brotherhood and betrayal with great emotional honesty.

Age recommendation and challenging content: Year 10/11. References to gangs and violence.

Notable reasons for recommending this book:  I work in an Alternative Provision and students are often very reluctant to read. They know a lot about this lifestyle and can identify with the language used. They were hooked after reading the first page and were also fascinated by the author and the fact he won the Booker Prize last year.