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Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida

3.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,331 Ratings  ·  201 Reviews
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 w
Paperback, 240 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Rayo (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,346)
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Oct 26, 2014 Jess rated it liked it
I will be teaching this novel to 8th grade struggling readers this year, on the recommendation of a teacher friend of mine.

At first, I was less than impressed. Now that I think about it though, that might be because I have been living in dystopian YA fiction for awhile and am used to starting a book with a dramatic event (like a choosing). But as the story progressed, I found I liked the main character more and more, and I found that the rhythm of his life is much like the students I teach. When
Charles Martin
Jan 25, 2011 Charles Martin rated it really liked it
Winner of the 1996 National Book Award for Young People's Fiction, "Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida" is less a sweeping traditional novel and more a series of short character sketches. The poetic style, though beautiful and intriguing, leaves the reader feeling confused and disjointed, though this may be the point. Living in a poor Mexican-American project in California, Manny Hernandez attempts to navigate the minefield that is his life -- just as the reader attempts to navigate the short vignettes ...more
Abdullah Yousaf
Oct 09, 2011 Abdullah Yousaf rated it really liked it
Parrot in the Oven a novel written by Victor Martinez, talks about the life of Manny Hernandez who lives a tough life. Manny has a jobless and drunk father. An older brother named Nardo who who never could find the right job for himself. A mother who cared about him and wanted father to find a job. An older sister named Magda and a younger one named Pedi. Then there are some other characters such as the Garcia brothers, grandma and Frankie. This story's main setting took place in the projects wh ...more
Aug 27, 2011 Adriana rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
So after I sort of metaphorically kicked Stiefvater's butt again with a negative review, I have to share another negative review with you. I've read some reviews where the question is asked, "Why did this stupid book get the National Book Award?" and to me the answer was easy.

If you look at the year it was published, the fact the setting is in California, and you take into account the racial tensions that occurred at many high schools there during that time period, the love people felt for this
Zack Lloyd
Oct 09, 2011 Zack Lloyd rated it liked it
In the book Parrot in the Oven by Victor Martinez, Manny the main character, lives a hard life. All Manny wants is some respect, and where he lives it is not all that easy. Manny considers joining the Vato Firme a local gang that he's introduced to. But he's not sure if thats the best idea. Manny knows joining the gang could bring trouble.
There are many important characters in this book starting with Mann's mom. Who does not have a job and is constantly working around her house. Next, there is
May 06, 2013 Veronica rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 03, 2007 LARRY rated it it was ok
Shelves: ficcion, literature
As posted in []:

I'm sorry but I really do not see what was special in Martinez' *Parrot in the Oven* that reaped him some awards. I did not see anything special about the story. However, I do agree that Martinez does have a way with words. They were eye-catching and made you wonder.

*Parrot in the Oven* is divided into chapters that each one focuses on one particular topic. While there is a subtle storyline throughout, the overall picture is blurred. There's that "missing li
Oct 14, 2009 Erin rated it really liked it
One of my graduate school professors thought that my students would really like this story, and that they would be able to connect to it as a result of the Latino main character. The teenage male protagonist is engaging, and this novel depicts his "coming of age" struggles (to which many of my students could connect).

Some of my Latino students did not like Parrot in the Oven, however, because they felt that it only told the "typical South of the Border story" in which immigrants cross the Mexica
Linda Lipko
Mar 05, 2013 Linda Lipko rated it did not like it
It is difficult to believe that this is a winner of the National Book Award and the Horn Book Fanfare Honor list.

Dealing with the very difficult subject of abuse, alcoholism, neglect, poverty and the hardship of the Mexican American culture is a lot of material to cover.

While the writing is good, the plot is missing. The storyline skips around like a rabbit jumping on hot pavement.

Fourteen year old Manuel has a story to tell. He is very weary of a mother who is passive, a father who is physicall
Drew Baldwin
Feb 10, 2015 Drew Baldwin rated it it was amazing
This book is a great book. It about the this boy who wants to be more then his father and brothers. His father is a drunk and gambles all there money away his brother can't keep a job. His mom is the strongest person in this book she keeps the family together and keep the house clean. The part I hated the most about this book was when he watch his father try to kill his mother. I strongly recommend this book to any one that like book about a kid and his dreams.
Jennifer Erwin
I finally got a library card and instructions on how to download and read library books on my kindle fire. Whoo-hoo! Which is awesome because I needed a "National Book Award Winner" for my reading challenge and after pulling up the list of books that have won that award, not a one of them was calling my name begging me to read them. I knew I didn't want to buy a book for my challenge if I'm not going to read it over and over again.

Ok, so I read this book yesterday, so it was a quick read, thank
Mar 03, 2016 Eirika rated it really liked it
What I thought about the book is that it is about life and family problems. This book is about a family that goes through so much struggles in life. They struggle with money and keeping the family happy as it is supposed to be. The mother in the book struggles because her husband lost his job and he is just out getting drunk while she has to take care of her children. Manny is helping his mother out while his dad and his other brother can’t seem to get their life together and be mature like him ...more
Nancy Hernandez
Mar 01, 2016 Nancy Hernandez rated it it was amazing
Parrot in the Oven is basically about a kid, (Manny) who wants to do big things and wants to be a type of man who you'll respect one day. Also, his family is poor because his father(Manuel) was a translator, but then was fired from the job. Everything is a little rough at the moment, time passes and soon the family is good as new and healthy. One of the parts I liked from the book is when the dad goes absolutely insane. I can't really explain it because I think it could be one of the spoilers, b ...more
Jonny Aguilar
Mar 01, 2016 Jonny Aguilar rated it it was amazing
This book is about a story of a family with a low income, this family tries to change themselves by start working on building a better character. Although as time goes on, there is a time where this family starts having obstacles, this is very common on people nowadays. It is common because whenever you want to achieve your goals there will always be obstacles. There is no problem with having obstacles to face, the problem is how you try to solve them. The part of the book that i like was when 0 ...more
Feb 29, 2016 Luis added it
The book Parrot in the Oven is about the main character manny and and his family. This book lets you in his lifestyles and there conditions in their place. Manny has one brother and two sisters. In the beginning of the story it tells you on how they are and what kind of person they are. This book has something going on almost at any time. The part of the book that i liked was when they went to go pick up peppers and immigration came to the place that they went to go pick up peppers. Also i like ...more
Ulyces Ramirez
Feb 29, 2016 Ulyces Ramirez rated it liked it
Parrot in the Oven is a book a written by Victor Martinez. A boy named Manuel known as Manny is the main character of the book. Parrot in the Oven is a book based on Manny, his life, how things go for him living in Fresno, California, in the projects. Living in the projects makes life hard for Manny as it is dangerous and scary he is also having a lot of family issues. Nothing seems to be normal about his family. Parts from the book are really nothing to like because it gets really serious, but ...more
Garrett Kvatek
Mar 27, 2015 Garrett Kvatek rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ceci Zavala
The book Parrot in the Oven was a good book. I didn't like the book, but I did like it, because of the choices they made. When I did start liking the book was toward the ending, but I didn't because of the choices of the characters. The book became intense. I feel like the worst character was the dad. This is because he was always drinking instead of getting a job he would go to Rico's Pool Hall and drink with his friends. Toward the end is when the dad finally changed himself around. He got a j ...more
Consuelo Hernandez
Mar 02, 2016 Consuelo Hernandez rated it liked it
This book is about a young boy name Manny talking to us about how he lives his life, even he talks about his father, sisters, friends, and gangs. Manny and the rest of the Hernandez family live in the 559 in California. What I liked about this book is how the author explains what Manny feels about everything that is going on with his life. Some stories really don’t show emotions. This book showed a lot of emotions. What I didn’t like about this book is the ending. It didn’t have a good ending. I ...more
Aaron Cabrera
Apr 25, 2014 Aaron Cabrera rated it it was amazing
If you like a good mistery book. The name of the book is "Parrot In The Oven Mi Vida" the book was by Victor Martinez. This book follows a life of a boy who gets in some trouble with his brother and friends.

The theme of book is to trust your friends. There is a point in time where you have to get in trouble just like this kid in the book and get in trouble with your brother or sister. This shows that they were normal kids like us at some point in their lives.

The main character has a older broth
Jan 23, 2016 Mary rated it it was ok
What started out as an interesting look at a Latin American community in southern California ultimately fell flat at the end.
The story, told through the eyes of teenager Manny Hernandez, is a series of vignettes about the people and life of a poor Latin American family living in the projects and are generally quite interesting. Manny's life is far from perfect, and so some of choices he makes are understandable... to a point. Much of the book feels like 1 step forward, 2 steps back, with Manny t
Bianca Ramirez
Oct 22, 2008 Bianca Ramirez rated it really liked it
This book was kind of intersting.It as abaut Manny's (the main character) life. He wanted to be someone in life. His dad always told him that he was worth a penny. He wanted to prove his dad wrong. His dad had lost his job and he drank alot. Manny was from a mexican family and I am too.This book had things that I did not expected.The reading wasn't so hard you shoul check it out.
Jan 04, 2016 Elise rated it liked it
This was another book that one of my students picked out to read so I read it too. I liked it, but it definitely wasn't as advertised. I would say that it reminded me of House on Mango Street but with a male character. If you are looking for books with a minority character as a lead character, this is a good choice. I appreciate the title, once you get there you will too.

The story is about a young Latino man, Manuel, and his year growing up with a sister who sneaks out, a brother who sneaks in d
Jan 16, 2015 Eddie rated it liked it
I loved this book. I read Parrot in the Oven by Victor Martinez I had to read it for a grade in our English class. The book is about fourteen years old Manny Hernandez wants to be more than just a penny. He thinks if he was a person who gets respect. And the only way you would get respect is if you were in a gang and Manny didn’t want to risk his life in a gang.

My favorite character was Manny because Manny is a kid that likes do things to get things. This book is about how Manny wanted a basebal
Dec 02, 2010 Joceline rated it liked it
I liked this book because it was interesting. I like it because it talks about a boy who has choices to make in his life by being a follower in which is by getting jumped in, in a gang or by not being a follower just him.
Richard Knight
Kind of bland, and it doesn't really go anywhere as there's no real narrative. But it's interesting enough and it kept my attention, so that's saying something.
Kat O
Mar 31, 2016 Kat O rated it really liked it
This was a quite a book! What poetic language, beautifully written and to be honest I can't even say what the book was really about. It's hard for me to explain, except that it was just a wonderful story of a young boy learning to live his life. It really didn't have a strong plot line, but it still told a story. Hard to put into my own words, but it was beautifully written.

Counting this one on the reading challenge list since it was a National Book Award winner. I can tell why. What a slam dunk
Mar 02, 2015 16olivia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine your life being written for you, people making assumptions about what you are going to be. Imagine living in a family where you are not heard. This is what 14 year old Manny Hernandez has to go through.
The book I read is called Parrot in the Oven (Mi Vida), written by Victor Martinez.The genre of my multicultural book is a Novel, Multicultural, Mexican-American. Manny Hernandez Lives in project of Fresno County, California.The main character is a 14 year old boy named Manny Hernandez. H
Imagine not being able to afford a car or bus. Imagine living in a house with your alcoholic father. Imagine joining a gang. A parrot in the oven by Victor Martinez is called parrot in the oven because the main character, Manuel's father sometimes calls him Perico. It is from a mexican saying about someone who complains about how hot it is outside. It is a fictional story that could easily happen in reality. It is set in a poor dangerous area in the projects. The main character, Manuel Hernandez ...more
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Class of 2015: Parrot in the Oven Mi Vida 1 2 Mar 25, 2014 08:03PM  
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Victor Martinez was born and raised in Fresno, California, the fourth in a family of twelve children. He attended California State University at Fresno and Stanford University, and has worked as a field laborer, welder, truck driver, firefighter, teacher, and office clerk.

His poems, short stories, and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies. Mr. Martinez was awarded the 1996 National Boo
More about Victor Martinez...

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