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Sleep in Me

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  64 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Against the backdrop of his teenage sister’s car accident—in which a dump truck filled with sand slammed into the small car carrying her and her friends—Jon Pineda chronicles his sister Rica’s sudden transformation from a vibrant high school cheerleader to a girl wheelchair bound and unable to talk. For the next five years of her life, her only ability to communicate was ...more
Hardcover, 168 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by University of Nebraska Press (first published September 1st 2009)
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Sep 24, 2013 Mmars rated it really liked it
Sleep In Me is Jon Pineda's memoir of his life from the summer after sixth grade into his senior year of high school. Written in mostly chronological anecdotes, he begins as a boy verbally and physically horsing around with friends, getting into typical trouble, and experiencing death-defying encounters with water moccasins and drowning. But one fatal night changes everything when his beautiful, determined and older sister is involved in a car/truck accident in which her best friend dies and she ...more
Jan 23, 2015 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Before he became an award-winning poet and writer, Jon Pineda was a skate punk, a football player, a kid who listened to angry rock at top volume while playing a guitar (badly). In other words, he was an American boy like many others. But after his glamorous elder sister was in a serious car accident and became severely disabled, he became "the brother of that girl." So on one level, this is a coming-of-age story, in which we glimpse the secret life of boys, including the casual cruelties they ...more
While there were some beautiful, lyrical moments in this memoir, the book was much too slow for me. With so many splintered, chronologically scrambled short sections, I wasn't as emotionally affected as I wanted to be; I wish the book had been 1/2 to 2/3rds its current length and organized differently. There were so many sections about Pineda that his sister, at times, felt irrelevant. In fact, most of the best moments in the memoir don't involve Rica at all. Maybe it's also an issue of ...more
Leah Iannone
Dec 10, 2010 Leah Iannone rated it it was ok
Interesting to me because the author is a poet, now writing a memoir. It is the re-telling of the author's childhood years. His his older sister is at the height of popularity and beauty, when she gets into a horrific car accident that leaves her paralyzed and brain damaged. The story was sad and there were moments I liked in respect to their relationship, but overall it was a little slow. He used a sparse style, which sometimes can work, but for this book I think it did not work well. I wanted ...more
Oct 30, 2011 Stephen rated it it was amazing
My lord: what an absolutely stunning and elegiac work.
Christina Wilder
Dec 17, 2015 Christina Wilder rated it really liked it
"A coma, one of her doctors explained. It was the first time I had heard the word coma. It seemed like a strange word, too, just a letter away from comma. Comma seemed more fitting, a visual pause in the sentence of her life. The room blinked from the bouquet of red and violet lights, the mechanisms at work to cycle air in and out of my sister's ruptured lungs. Looking at this body I had to believe it still held Rica somewhere in the realm of its dreaming."

Jon Pineda's account of his sister's tr
Sep 21, 2016 Shirley rated it really liked it
Full of rich metaphors and flowing language, this book touches a cord in anyone experiencing tragedy as a young adult. The story is engrossing, and the writing is almost hypnotic. Well done and not overdone. If anything was missing, it was the parallel stories of the other families affected.
Jen Hirt
Jul 01, 2012 Jen Hirt rated it it was amazing
If one of the goals of the modern memoir is to show the author's thought process, the author's coming-to-awareness about what makes us who we are, then Sleep in Me wins top prize. In 47 short essays covering about 150 pages in this slim book, Pineda tells how he reacts after his older sister's horrific car accident renders her paralyzed, disfigured, unable to talk (and coherent enough to use sign language, spelling out words) and needing care from Pineda and his mother. "Weight" and all its poet ...more
Literary Mama
Mar 25, 2015 Literary Mama added it
Shelves: memoir
From "Now Reading" by Literary Mama staff:

Fiction Editor Suzanne Kamata shares, "As the mother of a biracial boy who is brother to a sister with disabilities, I was especially interested in Sleep in Me, a memoir by Jon Pineda, son of a Filipino father and an American mother. Before Pineda became an award-winning poet and writer, he was a skate punk, a football player, a kid who listened to angry rock at top volume while playing a guitar (badly). In other words, he was an American boy like many o
May 28, 2012 Bec rated it really liked it
Shelves: ethnic-america, filam
Pineda’s lyrical memoir traces the effect of his sister Rica’s tragic car accident on his own boyhood and his Filipino American family. Written in short chapters, Pineda provides a glimpses of his relationship with his sister whom he admired and life as a child of divorced parents: his mother a Caucasian from North Carolina, his father a US military man from the Philippines. Typical boyhood activities like wrestling, skateboarding, and first sexual encounters, play against a backdrop of Rica’s ...more
Feb 16, 2012 Becky rated it it was ok
Very mixed feelings on this book. Written very well. But it was more of a young man's coming of age than what I felt the story would entail. A true story about Jon Pineada's life over approximately a 5 year time period. His older sister, Rica is seriously injured in an automobile accident. Rica becomes disabled for the remaining years of her life.

I had thought the story would deal with Rica. What she endured. How the family came to adjust to her being an invalid. Although it does touch on this,
Mar 26, 2012 Andrea rated it it was amazing
A beautiful memoir about his teenage years and the injury, and eventual loss, of his older sister to a car accident. While the book reads as a whole, and is chronologically arranged over the span of about 8 years, each "chapter" works more like a stand-alone essay, connected to the whole, but also standing on its own. Jon Pineda is a poet, and that background is obvious in so many of the essays, in the word choice, the development of metaphor, and his comfort in trusting the power of an image to ...more
Aug 04, 2010 Ardra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Imagine reading a compelling, tragic memoir written by a prize-winning poet. He captures his vulnerability as a young boy becoming a man amidst a family tragedy in a soul-baring, beautifully written way. This is a book that you don't want to put down, but you also want to take your time and savor it.

Also check out his other books of poems: "Birthmark" and "The Translator's Diary" These are not your school-day poems!

Jon Pineda has been selected as a Barnes and Noble featured New Great Writer. H
Michael K.
Oct 24, 2016 Michael K. rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful memoir, very poetic in language and rhythm. Begs for a follow up, as there are lots of windows that had to tempt the author, but to his credit, he stayed focused on the story. The chapters are generally short, which is good, as it allows the reader to take things in slowly before proceeding.
Hannah Comerford
Jul 27, 2016 Hannah Comerford rated it really liked it
Pineda shares a story of trauma without ever sounding like a victim. His brutal honesty of his emotions, responses, and actions in this memoir make it believable and engaging. What's more, each chapter reads like a poetic essay rather than a sequence of events. This book was beautiful, and I highly recommend it.
Nicholas Montemarano
Jul 23, 2010 Nicholas Montemarano rated it it was amazing
A powerful, moving, lyrical memoir that manages to be both a heartbreaking elegy to a sister and a coming-of-age story. Pineda is a wonderful poet too; I highly recommend his collections "Birthmark" and "The Translator's Diary."
Apr 20, 2011 LindaD rated it liked it
I remember getting the news while on the beach celebrating my graduation. Sad days in Great Bridge where I grew up.
Sep 18, 2010 Ann rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
Pineda takes his title from Rilke's "Sonnets to Orpheus."
In this poetically-informed memoir, Pineda -- like Orpheus -- exists as one for whom death has become incorporated into life.
Amy Bernhard
Amy Bernhard rated it really liked it
Jan 03, 2012
Mundanejane rated it really liked it
Jun 28, 2011
Kimberly Karalius
Kimberly Karalius rated it liked it
Jan 29, 2012
Jan 25, 2011 Joan rated it really liked it
Stirring and heartbreaking memoir.
Tina rated it it was ok
May 17, 2011
Sheila rated it it was amazing
Jul 28, 2014
Kristianna rated it liked it
Dec 04, 2013
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Jul 07, 2011
Diana rated it liked it
Jan 01, 2014
Adam Steele
Adam Steele rated it it was amazing
Nov 27, 2013
Joy Ill
Joy Ill rated it liked it
May 29, 2012
Mindy rated it really liked it
Mar 29, 2013
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Jon Pineda is the author of the novel Apology , winner of the 2013 Milkweed National Fiction Prize. His memoir Sleep in Me was a Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" 2010 Holiday Selection and a Library Journal "Best Books of 2010" selection. He is the author of the poetry collections The Translator's Diary, winner of the Green Rose Prize, and Birthmark, winner of the Crab Orchard Aw ...more
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