Analysis of “Ten Mile River” by Paul Griffin

Ray and Jose are the result of the foster system and have long ago deserted it. The style of writing is very creative while Paul Griffin uses a dialogue that demonstrates a different type of jargon of young teen age boys. They share a brotherly love, however many homophobic jokes establish that they love each other in a family sense. In Paul Griffin’s “Ten Mile River” (published 2009), Ray is the brains, and on the other hand, Jose is the brawn. Despite their differences, the two boys are supportive of one another through thick and thin – love, danger, and asinine decision making.

Best friends Ray and Jose are on their own and on the run. They hide out in Ten Mile River, a wildwood Harlem Park. Street-smart Jose and charismatic Ray are almost blood brothers up until they meet Trini: Yolie’s (owner of Yolanda’s Braid Palace) niece. She’s clever, confident, and both of the boys fall head over heels for her. But somehow, Ray gets the short end of the deal, even though he met Trini first. Ray must find a different future for himself aside from Ten Mile River and Jerry’s dirty deeds.

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After reading this book, you realize that the cause and effect type of plot is trying to reveal that as people grow up, they develop their own moral standards through personal experience, guidance, and influence. Although he had the mouth of a sailor, Jose definitely had the label of a charmer. Every move he made was sly and had ladies swooning on the spot. Jose’s heck of a personality matched his heck of a thirst for adventure and excitement. Raymond on contrary had more of a mellow disposition and was always thinking ahead. Ray was an avid reader and a dog lover.

Parents didn’t exist and school was out of the question. The boys made by, by doing 5 finger discounts, and stealing gangster cars and selling them to a sketchy mechanic named Jerry. After various chaotic experiences in Jerry’s stealing business and being Juvenile delinquents, Ray realizes and understands that what he’s been doing his whole life is wrong before Jose even thinks twice about his actions. As tension creeps into their brotherly relationship, Ray struggles to discover his true identity as a character, break away from Jose’s suffocating grasp, and try to envision a promising future for himself.

In regards to challenges and conflicts in the novel, some of the most significant ones were attempting to deal with Jerry’s shady bargains, getting caught up in theft, growing up without mentors, and in Ray’s case: putting up with the fact that he will never get Trini to be his girl. Throughout the book, the boys are faced with difficult challenges due to favors asked by Jerry. After ending up in the worst situation possible, they must confront him and tell him that they will never go back to him when they are in need of money no matter what the temptations happen to be.

One of the most important challenges of the book is the fact that they practically have to raise themselves. With no one to guide them, no one to teach them, and no one to help them along the way. Ray and Jose develop their own set of moral standards through personal experience, guidance from Yoli/Trini, and from each other. Finally, another challenge that Raymond faces would be his feelings for Trini. Ray really liked this girl for who she was and also as a best friend. However, he was loyal to his brother and held himself back in some cases and always tried to make the J-man look good.

This novel captures the attention of its readers and keeps them hungry for more. It is a book strongly recommended for teenagers because it has some mature content, but not graphic. “Ten Mile River” is a combination of perseverance, love, friendship, survival, and dedication within about 200 pages. Paul Griffin shows us that even though they may struggle, kids have the ability to survive on their own and create their own set of morals by personal experiences and influences from friends. This book will move you emotionally as you come across the challenges of the two boys living alone in New York City: The Wonder Thieves.

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Analysis of “Ten Mile River” by Paul Griffin. (2017, Jan 07). Retrieved from