Run Baby Run Book Review

Essay by yungyHigh School, 10th gradeA, August 2008

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I have never been to the New York, but after I had read the autobiography of Nicky Cruz, it brought me back to the 1950s when Nicky Cruz was the leader of one of the most feared gangs in New York – The Mau Maus. From the moment he was born, he was unloved and unwanted. He moved to New York because his parents did not want him to stay. There he became a violent and intolerable teenager until he was encountered by a preacher, and turned into a follower of Christ.

Nicky’s life began so tough, being rejected by his parents: “No not mine… Son of Satan. Child of Devil… Get away from me… Away! Away!” Nicky was then sent to New York to live with his older brother Frank. He despised Frank and school, and set out to the streets of New York. New York at this time was filled with gangs who patrolled their streets and teenagers would join gangs so they would feel safe, protected or just because they wanted to get away from home.

Nicky joined the Mau Maus. They were a fierce gang in which other gangs were afraid of. They fought other gangs and killed many young men. They robbed pedestrians, smoked and took drugs. “Nicky… Obviously, you don’t have anyone to love you – and you don’t love anyone either… You’re sick.”Nicky Cruz’s life was on the downhill. He had neither love nor, anybody to really care about him, until he met the preacher from Pennsylvania, David Wilkerson. Wilkerson showed that there is a way out of his mess. He said to Nicky that Jesus loved him. It shocked Nicky to find that someone he never knew loved him. Life began to change from then on. He started to attend services, and started to pray. Cruz would then later attend a Bible Institute in La Puente, California. There, Nicky learnt about the teachings of Christ and his love for us. He traveled back to New York and began preaching to his former gang. Some repented to Jesus, some didn’t. Nicky was then married to a colleague at the Bible Institute/Centre named Gloria, in his mid twenties. The couple kept following Christ and kept preaching, as we hear about the drug addicts, and no-hopes who convert to Christianity.

Nicky Cruz wasn’t the only reason why I was moved by this book but the preacher David Wilkerson. His hard efforts and his never-say-die attitude to help corrupted people like Nicky know of God and hear of Him. “I feel different about you. I love you… and… I’ve come to tell you about Jesus who loves you, too.” His voice rings so true and so humble to Nicky, who he trusts and believes in – for example, when David asked Nicky and his boys to do the missionary collection at the service. He never gave up on Nicky. When David encountered the leader of the Mau Maus, he was spat on and slapped, but replied:“Nicky, they spit on Jesus too, and he prayed, ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do’.” David Wilkerson humbled in God’s teachings and was used as a tool by God to teach others about the love he gave to us.

“Nicky, before I leave let me tell you just one thing. Jesus loves you.”“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; And you will be my witness.” Acts 1:8.

Satan is tempting – whether it is talking in church, or using God’s name in vein. Nicky’s life was full of sin. Satan influenced many of Nicky’s wrong doings. Killing, swearing and violence were just some of them. We see Satan act in his life when he abused Wilkerson, committed violence against others and hurting others mentally and physically. But Nicky’s mind was strong and he pulled through, leaving Satan behind him and putting God ahead of him. He proves this when he and his boys are collecting the missionary at church and Nicky stops himself from running away with the money and also commands one of the boys to put back the money he took.

Nicky’s friend Israel is a curious character. He had his ups and downs, but always stuck to Nicky. One of Israel’s lowest points was when he was not picked up to go to the Christian Institute Centre, and then turned away from God and jumped back into the gang.

Manny was also a friend of Nicky’s but unfortunately died when he was chased by a rival gang and was beaten up (while injured). Manny and Israel followed Nicky around and protected him when he was the leader of his vicious gang – The Mau Maus.

This world is full of sin, hatred and death, but if you turn to God (like Nicky did), you will see a whole new world of love, compassion and hope. But if you want to find out how Nicky turned to Jesus and repent his sins, you’ll have to read this book! Reference: Cruz, N. (1969) Run Baby Run. Great Britain: Logos International.