Hunger of Memory Hunger of Memory Hunger of Memory
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Hunger of Memory Hunger of Memory Hunger of Memory

3.26 of 5 stars 3.26  ·  rating details  ·  1,652 ratings  ·  188 reviews
Hunger of Memory is the story of Mexican-American Richard Rodriguez, who begins his schooling in Sacramento, California, knowing just 50 words of English, and concludes his university studies inthe stately quiet of the reading room of the British Museum.
Here is the poignant journey of a "minority student" who pays the cost of his social assimilation and academic successwi...more
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Published February 3rd 2004 by Bantam (first published 1982)
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Jessica
I have taught Rodriguez's essay, "The Third Man" for four semesters at Columbia. Now I am in a class where this book was assigned to me. I mention this because this is a book about the learning process, its prizes and perils.
I can't stop thinking about this book, talking about it. Rodriguez fights for every sentence, every word. You can almost see the 200 revisions that have gone into each phrase, but not quite. This is a beautiful book that accomplishes what I thought to be an impossible task:...more
Diana
This is a book some will love and others will hate.
I first read this book for a college course and found Mr. Rodriguez a bit of a complainer. I just finished re-reading and discovered I greatly enjoyed his writing style and was better able to understand his experience growing up Mexican-American in California. I am still a bit ambivilant It is, at times, a riviting personal narrative. about the interaction between language, culture and assimilation. Mr. Rodriguez poignantly communicates his sadn...more
Samira
Ok. So I did not enjoy this book, not because it was a terrible book, but because it angered me. I am Americanized and I try my very best to learn as much about my culture as possible. I want to embrace my culture and the fact that there is someone out there who wants to throw theirs away (when they know how to speak their language fluently and know their culture by nature) angers me. Maybe, then, it is a really good book because it got a response from me, because it impacted me, but I still can...more
Katie
Rodriguez is often vilified by academic leftists for his conservative views on bilingual education (against it) and affirmative action (against it). Strangest of all, he wants to go back to the Latin mass. He is a gay, Mexican-American Catholic who got his PhD in Renaissance Literature and then dropped out of the academic circuit because he felt Ivy League schools were courting him due to his ethnicity. Now he makes a living off his books, articles, and boyfriend.

This is more a story of his ear...more
Sandra
Many of the essays in this collection are wonderful. I can relate to his feelings about being a child of immigrant Mexican parents and one of my favorite essays is the one about his complexion. It's when Rodriguez goes beyond the personal that he sometimes loses me. Many times his essays are abstract intellectual reflections that are obtuse enough for me to not care. Still, even some of those have nuggets of thought I find interesting and the most controversial are his feelings on bilingual educ...more
Juhi
Hunger of Memory is about a Mexican American named Richard Rodriguez who goes to Sacremento to go to school. Not knowing much English he still wants to survive this new way of life and become something of himself. His family, his past, and his culture didn't support his dream of becoming a success. This story explains that Richard had to loose something in order to gain something, it explains how important a language is, how little things of a culture is important in a person. When you come into...more
Kristl
May 16, 2007 Kristl rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of memoirs
Richard Rodriguez is stellar at making you internalize the pathos that he pretty much writes in blood on the pages of his book.

While the subject matter was interesting to me (Latino man finding his place in a country that does not accept him as he is), I could not relate much to flavor in which these sentiments were delivered.

Rodriguez's personality is one that had to fight his way through his journey of change. This very bittersweet uphill struggle is believable and not out of order at all.

I j...more
Marianne
I liked this book, ok. I mean I liked it because it was well-written but overall, it was just ok. I thought at first he was devling into the transformation of immigrants until I was able to discuss this book with people of his ethnic background. They were angry with him. I was curious to find out why.

It did change my view of the book but not by much. It still was a well written memoir. He still sounds like a douchebag when reflecting back on his family and the cultural stigmas he has had to fac...more
Paul
Richard Rodriguez's Hunger of Memory is about the certain benefits and inevitable costs of getting higher education and the solitary life of a writer. His self-portraiture applies a rather austere and bleak and spartan writing style and voice and evokes an autobiographical speaker's convinced and convicted sense of melancholy, loss, loneliness, and lamentation. As a reader, I was kept away from getting too close for comfort and thus remained at an emotional and intellectual distance. Of course,...more
Lisa
What did you think? Goodreads asks. Indeed this book gave me a lot to think about. Although it was written over 30 years ago, he brought up some points that are still in contention. As in many nonfiction books, Mr. Rodriguez has the tendency to re-state his case repeatedly in various permutations.

The main points that I distilled from it are that Affirmative Action is bad because it tends to give people who aren't really disadvantaged unnecessary advantage. He seems to forget that prior to affir...more
Sro
Please, excuse me for being frank about this, but some of the reviewers missed the main point of the book.

Rodriguez is not writing about himself trying to leave his cultural heritage behind. He is writing about his struggle to keep his heritage, while being assimilated by another culture: The culture of higher (end) education. His struggle is grounded on his (working class) family being so far away from that when he started his journey, and also unintentionally pushing him away by taking from hi...more
Elliot Ratzman
“There are things so personal they can only be revealed to strangers.” For years I had condemned this book to the ‘conservative’ wing of American essays, but finally reading it, I’m pleasantly surprised. Decades ago Rodriguez a “comic victim of two cultures” gained some notoriety for opposing bilingual ed and affirmative action when to suggest so was heresy among liberals. Fine, but these essays are intriguing, intelligent and somber, unlike today’s mean-spirited and mindless right. This is a st...more
Gloria
I read this book over Christmas break and it ruined my holiday! It's the memoirs of a lost man who seeks to justify the distance he feels from his family through his transformation by assimilation into a well to do American author. He sees the loss he has experienced as worth the price. The edition I have is recommended by conservative George Will need I say more to my liberal friends as to why I can not stand this book?

I will say more. It haunts me. I see him as the child I knew who wanted to b...more
sdw
This book has languished on my bookshelf for years, ranking high on the list of books I was ashamed never to have read. On the eve of my thirtieth birthday, I finally crossed it off the list. I could have told you that Rodriguez argues against bilingual education and against affirmative action. I could not have predicted how well-written the book is or how much I would enjoy it as a read. Some of Rodriguez’s arguments are rational – does affirmative action do enough to confront the class-based i...more
Anji
This is an important book, and perhaps the most important book I've read in a while. In our society, we seldom differentiate between race and ethnicity, and we are quick to shy away from discussing class. As an educator, we repeatedly see income tied to standardized test results, yet no one wishes to discuss this. Well, not many do... other than Richard Rodriguez, who was against affirmative action but is honest enough to say how it simultaneously benefitted him and didn't go to those who most n...more
Araceli Sanchez
When I decided to pick this book to read I was in my early 20's. The first chapters I felt I could somehow relate to the struggle in trying to assimilate to the mainstream culture. However, as I continue reading I was disappointed when I read further. I got the feeling that he was ashamed of his roots and felt that he was someone who is phony and he was not able to fit in with his family because of the education he had attain at UCLA. I am Mexican American and also attended college. When I was a...more
Hannah Kwon
Undeniably well written and almost lyrically so.

His honesty seems to be wrapped in his revising of this story to ensure that its truth comes across not only to himself, but to his readers as well. Definitely an educational type of autobiography, but more for the reason that education itself has played such a humungous role in his life. There is such a refreshing and challenging thing about reading how passionate and convinced he is about his stance on issues like affirmative action and what it...more
Lucero Nava
Jul 21, 2014 Lucero Nava rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lucero by: AP history teacher
This book has honestly become a sort of diary to me. Every single concept that Rodriguez writes about I can relate too. Many are surprised to see me so "into" a book of such topic. As a Mexican-american teenager, I can confidently say that this book is a true eye opener.
I enjoy seeing the openness with which Rodriguez speaks about his life, his beliefs, and his struggles. The amount of possible meanings for each topic extend over a wide range, I enjoy the juxtaposition of him as a person. He is...more
Crystal Belle
in many ways i felt as if he was ashamed of his mexican heritage. he seems to uphold assimilation and westernization of thought, mind, etc. for that reason, i am not a fan.
Jade Glenn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Allisonjam
Read this for my Diversity Theory class.Hunger of Memory is an engaging read. Although at times I disagreed with Rodriguez’s position on affirmative action and bilingual education, I did respect the rationale behind his positions. Even while he criticizes policies like bilingual education and affirmative action, he is fair and a reliable narrator in his arguments and admits to having profited from those opportunities. I highly recommend it for an original perspective on both the benefits and per...more
Victoria
Aug 05, 2010 Victoria rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: republicans
d1$Gr4C3 2 m@i r4c3
Gabriella
Well-written enough to maybe convince you of his beliefs, but, at its core, just an autobiography about an "exception" that thinks himself the "rule." Tries to speak on issues that affect the Mexican/Latino population in the U.S. at large (bilingual education, affirmative action) while simultaneously distancing himself completely from his identity as Mexican. Uses his personal experience to make broad political statements. Again, well-written, but his experiences should not be taken as political...more
May-Ling
it's funny that since i've worked at stanford, i keep seeing the word stanford in everything. that's how life is - like when you learn a new word and then start to hear it all the time.

so it turns out that richard rodriguez attended stanford. i related to this book in some ways because he's coming from a mexican family (half in my case!) and has trouble at times relating to his family after going through the schooling process and then college. i didn't experience that on the same level since the...more
Cyndi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Unlike Richard Rodriguez I'm not a Mexican-American, but I did grow up in a Spanish-speaking household since my mother is Puerto Rican. Of all the books about and by Hispanics I've read before or since, this is the one I most identified with, that really resonated and spoke to me. I could see much about my family reflected in his--attitudes towards education, skin color, religion... This book indeed was assigned reading in a Sociology class, because it does fit into that discipline. But it's als...more
Osvaldo
Is it bad that ultimately this book left me feeling sorry for Richard Rodriquez? Sometimes his florid language and exaggerated formal tone made me think of Oscar Wao --Rodriquez coming out some years after this aside, some of the things he has to say about being a "dandy" in comparison to the Mexican ideal of macho resonated with Oscar's struggle with Dominican masculinity-- and the loneliness he describes seems to echo the loneliness of what he calls "socially disadvantaged kids" who make some...more
Gina Bernard
I appreciated Richard Rodriguez's ability to express feelings about learning that many, if not most, of us cannot put into words; indeed, these are often feelings we do not even register. Above all, I understood for the first time what separates me from some of my students who are not changed by the content I teach. They are people for whom education might change how they see the world and operate in it. The necessary movement away from their families/culture might be too much to endure.

Still,...more
Urenna Sander
“Hunger of Memory, The Education of Richard Rodriguez,” by Richard Rodriguez describes his journey as a Mexican-American in California.
Richard and his brother and two sisters assimilation into the American way of life, were not without cost.
Prior to learning English, Rodriguez described a happy and pleasant family life, safe from the outside world.
When he was six, the school’s nuns arrived at his home to encourage the family to speak and practice English. This would ensure the Rodriguez childr...more
Cris
The first book of a series, focuses more on what it means to be an educated minority. Here again we usual themes in minority writing: the effects of education in separating the child from his background and family, ruminations on class and an articulated desire not to be judged as a 'colored' writer. Except that Rodriguez actually put his money where his mouth was in real life and refused to be a 'colored' professor at an Ivy League school, choosing instead to become the leading hispanic intelle...more
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Richard Rodriguez is an American writer who became famous as the author of Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (1982). His work has appeared in Harper's, The American Scholar, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and The New Republic. Richard's awards include the Frankel Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the International Journalism Award from the World Affairs C...more
More about Richard Rodriguez...
Brown: The Last Discovery of America Days of Obligation: An Argument With My Mexican Father Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography Hunger of Memory Publisher: Bantam

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