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Saturday, April 20, 2013

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Review: Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida by Victor Martinez

Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida
Author: Victor Martinez
Released Date: February 13, 1998
Publisher: Rayo

Dad believed people were like money. You could be a thousand-dollar person or a hundred-dollar person – even a ten-, five-, or one-dollar person. Below that, everybody was just nickels and dimes. To my dad, we were pennies.

Fourteen-year old Manny Hernandez wants to be more than just a penny. He wants to be a vato firme, the kind of guy people respect. But that's not easy when your father is abusive, your brother can't hold a job, and your mother scrubs the house as if she can wash her troubles away.

In Manny's neighborhood, the way to get respect is to be in a gang. But Manny's not sure that joining a gang is the solution. Because, after all, it's his life – and he wants to be the one to decide what happens to it.

     Oh. Another required reading. Yay. After Dreamland's disaster, I was going to call it quits here and go hide in a cubicle for awhile. Not that it's bad idea... but I'm pretty sure I would've failed high school already with that many absences (so not happening).
     Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida is about a fourteen-year-old boy named Manny who lives with his abusive father and just wants to fit in with the others around his neighborhood.
     I had hoped that Parrot in the Oven was going to be majorly better than our last reading in English. I guess it went out okay in the end, but I ended up flipping back and forth to find a certain something.
     A glossary, which I didn't find to my misfortune. With the Spanish terms and translations that were used in the book at the least. It would've have helped me so much since I haven't taken Spanish. Okay, there were a few translations in English after the Spanish throughout the book, but not all of them. I still say that a glossary would have been majorly helpful (and not just to me... I hope). In fact, I have no clue what the title says. Besides the Parrot in the Oven part. I guess it's time to stroll on over to Google Translator.
     Parrot in the Oven, is a bit different, but similar when compared to other realistic fiction. It might just be me and realistic fiction (because I'm definitely not it's biggest fan, considering the fact I rarely give realistic fiction a high rating...), but there tends to be not so much going on, besides a typical Mexican American teenager with family problems typically contained in realistic fiction and wanting/trying to fit in with others (also typically found in realistic fiction). I might be wrong with that view.

*holds up warning sign* ATTENTION: MINI-SPOILER ALERT!
You have been warned of the next paragraph containing tiny mini-spoilers that may give away a tad bit too much information about the book. Continue at your own risk.
     The end tends to be rushed into 2-3 chapters. Manny was going on with his typical life, until a disaster at a party, and then boop. He decides to join a gang. Shortly after, boop. Someone gets in trouble, he realizes something within just hours/a day and boop. Goes home and "happily ever after," the end.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Owls

~Happy Reading!


Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.