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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. She also doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). She's a first year Communications major from the St. Louis area, though she sometimes wish she wasn't. Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.

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