Bodega Dreams
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Bodega Dreams

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,338 ratings  ·  186 reviews
"A new and authentic voice of the urban Latino experience." --Esmeralda Santiago, author of When I Was Puerto Rican

In a stunning narrative combining the gritty rhythms of Junot Diaz with the noirgenius of Walter Mosley, Bodega Dreams announces the arrival of a writer who The Village Voice has already hailed as "a Writer on the Verge."

The word is out in Spanish Harlem: Will...more
Paperback, 213 pages
Published March 14th 2000 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2000)
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Kate
This is a wonderful story -- and great to use in the NYC classroom, as students many students will be able to relate to the cultural issues of East Harlem. Allusions to THE GREAT GATSBY made me a bit weary at first, but this novel questions what we assume about crime and justice continually, hitting on some of the same pivotal issues that Fitzgerald captured. It has great colloquial language and pushes the reader to consider the central question: "You may be able to take the man out of East Harl...more
LisaRose
Nov 26, 2008 LisaRose rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like ideas
I am trying so hard to figure out Bodega Dreams. Oscar Quinonez created a work with multiple layers and textures but I am unsure if it is all smoke and mirrors. Ranging from, "Yeah, I know guys like that," to characters who are caricatures, Quinonez populates his first novel with peeps from the hood with dubious motivations and labyrinthine connections. These characters develop unevenly through the course of the novel and as the convoluted plot line unravels, they make choices that seem out of c...more
Elizabeth
Apr 15, 2008 Elizabeth rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
"Bodega Dreams" is one of those books that don't have a catchy cover, however as you start reading the first pages the book drives you into wanting to read more and more. It cought my attention due to the fact that it talks bout how it all started back in high school when sapo and chino became friends,which I'm in right now it shows how high school memories were meanful to both . Throughout the book the character(chino) grows into a complete different character. From a imature teen into a grow...more
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Hello, everyone. I am tired and cranky and sick and stressed out today, so I'll keep this review rather brief. Although I feel bad because I haven't written a good review in a while. I'm not even in the top 100 reviewers this week. *Sobs* But anyway, enough of my pity party.

So … I was assigned to read Bodega Dreams for my Writing the Urban Experience class, which is this cool class where we read and write about … urban things. So yeah, it's exactly what the title of the course says. Only it's mu...more
Billy Michaca
Speaking from a fan's perspective, Bodega dreams' urban cast of first generation Puerto Rican Americans kept me on the edge of seat. I couldn't put this book down it read more like behind the scenes documentary on the underbelly of urban crime and romance than the norm of an unaffected young adult drama. The plight of unrequited love borrows more from Gabriel García Márquez in substance than what I'd expect from a book recommended to me by my sister.

As Quinonez commonly refers to sites and soun...more
Z Halv
SPNS 351- Review (Nataza, Ethan, Zoe, Erin & Rjika)

Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quiñonez is a Latino novel set in Spanish Harlem in the 1980s. At the time, Spanish Harlem was heavily affected by the energy crisis. The novel follows Chino, a young college student and newlywed living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to survive. His childhood chum, Sapo is caught up in a life of drug dealing and fast money alongside the neighborhood powerhouse, Willie Bodega. Bodega has a dream of cleaning up th...more
Amy
A great re-imagining of The Great Gatsby. The characters are riveting and it was a fascinating glimpse of a culture I am unfamiliar with.
Jailener
This story is about a group of people from Harlem who want to do good in life but some of them end up doing the wrong stuff to get to their goals. In the story one of the characters, named Chino is a college student who is having a hard time maintaing himself in Harlem, he has a friend named Sapo who ends up getting caught up in a wild life of drug dealing and thinking that street popularity is what is important. Willie Bodega is one powerful man throughout the story because he runs everything a...more
Cynthia Emelis
I read this in high school. I had an awesome teacher who introduced us to this book at first the book didn't appeal to me since I mostly read love stories/scary stories but this book had me on the edge asking questions and feeling proud that a person like chino had nothing and made something of himself. I recommend this book to everyone
Kimberly Sexton
I had to read this book as a college student along with high school students in NY as a pen pal project. Discussing the book with students that lived in a city helped me better understand the theme of the book, but yet I did not like the fact that high school students were reading this book. There is a lot of foul language and having to be forced to read this book is definitely not a recommendation. I understand the author was trying to convey the true meaning of living in the streets, but I thi...more
Jayalchemist
I loved this book. To be honest this was the first book I read that wasn't required to be read because of school. This is the kind of book that any kid who was born or raised in NYC could relate to. I believe this book is a must read.
Gabriel Oak
The key to this novel for me was learning at a reading that Quiñones intended it as a Latino adaptation of The Great Gatsby. It's a great novel on its own, esp. as an introduction to the major historical events and themes of Nuyorican literature (though its historical memory is perhaps a bit short). But it really shines as a smart, nuanced take on Fitzgerald's novel. I love seeing fragments of Gatsby's language rise to the surface of the novel, and the way that the character of Gatsby is divided...more
Keith L
The book that I am currently going to talk about is possibly one of the books I will read in my high school years. As a sophomore, I have to learn how to expand my reading and this book is a benchmark of my expansion.
This book is about a young man named Julio, living in Spanish Harlem. He tells reminiscent stories as background towards the real climax of the book. After he finds a woman and an apartment, he still needs to help to lifetime buddy, Sapo. Sapo was always a negative influence to Ju...more
Brian
Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quinonez, romance, drugs, crime, infidelity. Chino, the protagonist of the book, has trouble with paying bills and with a child coming soon, he needs more room. Willie Bodega, has the answers to that, though there are consequences. Spanish Harlem is where all the crime is taking place. Chino is insecure, uses lies to cover up, and Sapo, his best friend, takes advantage of him, by making him carry drugs for him, and ultimately Bodega. Blanca is Chino's wife, and every guy...more
Jesse Bornemann
I bought Bodega Dreams after hearing Ernesto Quinonez tell a story on "The Moth," the NPR radio show that features famous and not-so-famous folks presenting personal narratives. Quinonez shared an episode from his awkward preteen years (redundant adjectives, I know) about the poetic justice he and his friends served up to a racist bully in middle school. Only, like the best stories, it's not really that simple. By the end of Quinonez's tale, the labels of "bully" and "victim" have been switched,...more
Osvaldo
I don’t know what I expected from Bodega Dreams, but clearly what I got wasn’t it. It is an uneven novel. It has some strong insights into life in el barrio and its various tensions and contradictions, but at the same time Quiñonez’s writing doesn’t quite seem up to delivering it consistently.

The biggest problem is that a lot of the dialogue, upon which so much of the neighborhood character and culture rests, comes off as kind of stilted, and as such does not convey the relationships that carry...more
Irina Blair
I’ll admit, the vulgarity in this book was a turn-off in the beginning. I wasn’t new to that kind of writing in books, but somehow the author made it sound even filthier and grimier than I had ever read, which I guess was his aim. However, as the story came into itself, I started to really enjoy it. I found myself reading and then glimpsing at the page number, surprised by how fast I had zoomed through the chapters. It wasn’t exactly addicting and I didn’t have an insatiable hunger to continue r...more
Yeribel
Quotes:

“To them our self-respect was more important than passing some test, because you can’t pass a test if you already feel defeated.”

“Bodega was the type of guy who, if he was going to show you how to make paper airplanes, would first tell you how trees had to be cut down in order to make paper.”

On Nazario’s success: “It was something about knowing who the important little people were, the forgotten ones who don’t wear suits, the mailroom clerk, the secretaries, the custodial staffs. They wo...more
Nicole Reyes
This was a pretty good read. It is the story of a young Latino growing up in East Harlem. He is able (or perhaps forced) to walking the fine line between getting ahead through his education and the life he is building with his very religious wife or through his involvement in the shadier sides of neighborhood business where success comes quicker but with more moral dilemmas.

The story was interesting and the writer's writing style was easy to read, even though it was heavily laced with slang (whi...more
Blaine Ferris
SPNS-351 (Blaine, Olivia, Nicole, Alex, Emilee)

Bodega Dreams is a novel written by Ernesto Quinonez. The novel takes place in Spanish Harlem in the late 20th century. Quinonez describes the protagonist Chino, a young man trying to survive in Spanish Harlem while attending a college and providing for his pregnant wife, Blanca. Chino finds himself being pulled into a drug lord's struggle for power and love.

Quinonez describes the struggle of living between two worlds: one of legitimacy , and one o...more
Skifreemt
Taylor Drummond
Grace Caldwell
Kylee Firlit
Eddie Gantzer
Bodega Dreams
Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quinonez is a quick and easy read, but also intriguing. It gives a unique look into El Barrio, a Puerto Rican neighborhood in East Harlem. The neighborhood is a lower class area with economic despair, which Bodega is trying to fix. Bodega is a selfish man, but also a heroic person. Bodega Dreams is an interesting take on what makes the difference between a hero and a villain. It looks into the themes o...more
Jodeci Gonzalez
dear m.s Charan,

I Think that you would love this book called "Bodega Dream". Bodega Dreams is base on how an drug lord use to sell drugs in Spanish Harlem.But with the dirty money he was making he was giving back to the people of spanish Harlem.For an example he would pay for peoples college tuitions and also he would buy buildings and rent them to people for an afforable price.In the story Bodega dreams, was to change the ways that people judge the people in Harlem and to remodel the paths th...more
Tsmith15
So far, Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quinonez is an action packed personal narrative about the struggles of Julio, or China. He attends Hunter College and lives in an apartment with his pregnant wife, Blanca.

I like how Ernesto starts off the book with the importance of being tough and making a name for yourself. I found it very easy to relate to this book. I also like the inclusion of Spanish language. It gives the book a little excitement. Last but not least I love how him and Blanca always argue....more
Abraham Gonzalez
When it comes to trying to get up in the world, and being behind all of the illegal business that goes on in our local communities, Bodega Dreams deals with that issue. The major issues are being powerful, having rights, and being successful in life. The big theme is if you want to succeed in life it's up to you to make that dream into a reality.This book reminds me of The Great Gatsby only in Bodega Dreams its based in the Spanish Harlem Neighborhood.I really like this book because its not one...more
Kelvin
this book is really good to read. It explains to you how a guy from the ghetto came up from selling drugs and started investing his money in property and took a lot of his money to help people that needed money or were in the struggle. That is something that he built him self a great reputation so every one in the community loves Mr.Willie bodega and he has people in the hood that would die for him.
Sheryl Vidals
In the book Bodega Dreams the book addressed a very intense and clear conflict.The main character Chino which described what it is to be living under pressure and being loyal to his loved ones.It's very hard to be loyal to two people at once because you want to please both but without hurting them and that is what makes it difficult for an individual because sometimes you don't know what to expect.For that reason Chino always had a hard time looking for his place because he never knew what was b...more
Sonja
I watched the author give a TED talk online and was very impressed with him so I decided to read one of his books, choosing this one. I would give the story a B but I thought his writing was very good. I enjoyed reading about the culture, even though it was just a little bit of it. He certainly made his characters real. He has a good future in front of him.
Luis Zambrano
Feb 13, 2014 Luis Zambrano is currently reading it
Dear Friend,

I am reading a book entitled Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quinonez which is work of fiction. So far The book is about this kid named Sapo. Sapo is just his nickname his real name is Enrique. The book is passed on kids that lives in Harlem, NY. These kids are trying to make it out of the ghetto and be successful in life in my eyes.
Johnathan Mohamed
So far in "Bodega Dreams" theres a guy named Julio (Chino) who lives in Spanish Harlem and when he was younger, him and a friend Enrique (Sapo) used to do some pretty bad things to survive their neighborhood. Now Chino is currently in Hunter College and is married to a beautiful pentecostal woman named Nancy (Blanca) who is currently pregnant with Chinos baby. Things go well until his friend Sapo continuously asks him to hold drugs in his house for him and wants Chino to basically do bad things....more
Sarah
When I read Shirley, by Charlotte Bronte, in college we discussed the big problem with the industrial novel: the "problem of the working class" aspect of the novel is always tied to some sort of romantic plot and inevitably, come the end, the romance is resolved (marriage!) and the problem of the worker, not so surprisingly, remains unsolved. Thus do industrial novels always tend to be artistically not so satisfying.

Bodega Dreams, however, is a novel with a social conscience, blah blah blah. Wha...more
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Ernesto Quiñonez (born 1966) is an American novelist. His work received the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers designation, the Borders Bookstore Original New Voice selection, and was declared a “Best Book” by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
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“i think you're worth all the souls in hell. thass thousands of more souls than there are in heavan. So you're worth a lot, pana.” 6 likes
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