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Bodega Dreams
Ernesto Quiñonez
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Bodega Dreams

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,879 Ratings  ·  220 Reviews
Willie Bodega is the king of Spanish Harlem. With a steady income from drug sales, he's rebuilding the neighborhood from the groud up. So why does the guy who can do anything need a favor from young Chino?
Published 2000 by Recorded Books
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oct 05, 2008 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 26, 2008 LisaRose rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 15, 2008 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Cam Folsom
Mar 13, 2016 Cam Folsom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With such a distinct title, I didn’t know what to expect going into this novel. As it turned out this book contained more than what meets the eye. Ernesto Quinonez did an excellent job creating a story full of symbolism, imagery, and internal struggles. From the perspective of a hoodlum in a rough Latin American neighborhood, this tale details the remaining good among all the evil of the hood. The main characters all change throughout the course of the story, especially the main character who di ...more
Alex Robertson
I read this in one day. Very cool. Of me, not the book.
Billy Michaca
Jun 26, 2011 Billy Michaca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 08, 2013 Jacqueline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una novela ingenua, entretenido, profundo, y conmovedor con un antihéroe memorable. Es narrada por Chino, un muchacho puertorriqueño que vive en Spanish Harlem. Inteligente y trabajador, Chino se encuentra en medio de dos mundos: el de su vida como estudiante en Hunter College y esposo de Blanca, una mujer pentecostal, con quien está tratando de superar lo pobreza de su vecindario; y el de la calle, representado por su amigo Sapo, quien tiene vínculos con el crimen. Por su amistad con Sapo, Chin ...more
Z Halv
Feb 20, 2013 Z Halv rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 21, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sheri Lutz
Jan 13, 2016 Sheri Lutz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful story teller, give us us glimpse into Spanish Harlem.
May 05, 2014 Jailener rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
In the mid to late 90s an interesting boom happened. A number of young writers of color were publishing books that were written in a voice that was true to his or herself and the milieu he or she grew up in. These writers weren't comprising their voice for mainstream readership; mainstream readership were coming to them. (Think Paul Betty's White Boy Shuffle or Junot Diaz' Drown.)

Bodega Dreams was published in 2000. However, it was part of that boom: Bodega Dreams is one of the few books that t
Oct 27, 2014 Millie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first, it seemed this book would be filled with stock characters, but I soon recognized a lot of NY Latino history. I couldn't stop reading it. My mind is still in the story, and I finished it yesterday. I didn't guess the ending, but it made sense because all throughout the book, I kept asking myself, "Why?" I really liked this book!
Cynthia Emelis
May 17, 2012 Cynthia Emelis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 29, 2014 Kimberly Sexton rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 15, 2013 Jayalchemist rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 13, 2009 Keith L rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 15, 2011 Brian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 25, 2012 Jesse Bornemann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 19, 2014 Osvaldo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: latino-lit
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
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
Mar 03, 2012 Yeribel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“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
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
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
Feb 21, 2013 Skifreemt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jodeci Gonzalez
Nov 15, 2012 Jodeci Gonzalez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 14, 2016 Barbaracase rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a first novel you will read in one sitting. Quinonez paints Puerto Rican life in New York. He loves the relationships, the language, all of the culture. The book is tightly plotted with a number of surprising twists and it careens through them. Never pedantic yet it is clear about the impacts of classism, racism, and capitalism. Gender politics, I'm not sure. Where is Ernesto Quinonez? It appears he released his sophmore novel in 2005 and nothing since.
Anju J.
Dec 06, 2014 Anju J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I obviously read this book in a total of two days, the bulk of it bing today. The book has a vivid depiction of children, poverty, the American Dream, and how poverty plays a critical role in the lives of children of color. It's rich with the NYC feel of what one of our most vibrant NYC communities (Spanish Harlem) feels like, it depicts people and the essence of folks trying to just make it in this book. Dreams are a big part of this book whether real or not, whether the American Dream or the d ...more
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Book Review 1 1 Feb 19, 2013 10:19AM  
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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.” 7 likes
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