Anyway, the Times reports today that Jones, who is really Margaret Seltzer, actually made the whole thing up (whoops). Seltzer in fact grew up in a suburb (raised by her biological family, not a foster care parent as she claims in the book), never had anything to do with the Bloods, and graduated from prep school. She's also half white and half... white. I really recommend the original profile, if only to experience the sheer retrospective bizarreness of some of the details she provides about her life.
Curiously, she had also claimed in her book that she graduated with a degree in ethnic studies from University of Oregon (also not true btw). Even curiouser: in her more recent interview with the Times, Seltzer stresses that her mendacity was driven by a real desire to write about racism. She insists that the details in her book were all gleaned from people she's known and comments, "I thought I had an opportunity to make people understand the conditions that people live in and the reasons people make the choices from the choices they don't have." She confesses to having written the book in Starbucks, where she "would talk to kids who were Black Panthers and kids who were gang members and kids who were not."