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A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints: A Memoir
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A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints: A Memoir

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  439 ratings  ·  50 reviews
As far back as i can remember ... i can remember manhattan. Orlandito "Dito" Montiel, son of Orlando, a Nicaraguan immigrant, and an Irish mother, grew wild in the streets of Astoria, Queens, pulling pranks for Greek and Italian gangsters and confessing at the church of the Immaculate Conception, gobbling hits of purple mescaline and Old English, sneaking into Times Square ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 8th 2003 by Da Capo Press (first published August 9th 2002)
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Phoebe
After just finishing the book, I just have to spread the word about its sheer awesomeness! It just touched me. There were little bits in chapters or entire chapters as a whole that are just beautifully touching a chord, a chord of melancholy, of sadness, but of truth and beauty too – of life and what really is (or should be) important.

“And I understand now, maybe not completely, but more, that in times of overwhelming joy, immobile sadness, hysterical laughter, absolute fear, and sometimes just
...more
Patrick O'Neil
There's a really great book in here somewhere - Dito Montiel's voice is strong, he's got great images, and stories - it just gets confusing and meanders around until the reader is lost, at least I was, and I suspect some people will give up, put the book down and go out to eat, or slam a couple of drinks at their local bar. Which sucks because it's all pretty damn interesting. With a little help, like from a good editor, Dito could have shaped A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints into a much tight ...more
Josh
All in all I really enjoyed the book A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. My only criticism would be that it is just another road book written in the style of Kerouac. Dito Montiel has great stories to tell but I feel they would be much stronger if he could tell them in his own voice and not that of Kerouac. There were an abundance of parallels between this book and On the Road even down to the replacement of Charlie Parker for Chet Atkins. I do however look forward to reading more of his work.
Brandon Will
"I feel like I really messed up, but that's why I wrote all this craziness, anyway. I wrote it because people change and people leave, and new things come along." - Dito

Dito writes of his life as a thuggish-guy from Astoria who's band "Gutterboy" became (in their words) "the most successful unsuccessful band in history."

But what this is really about, the 'saints' referred to in the title, are all the freinds and would-be freinds he knew along the way who stood on the sidelines, but couldn't j
...more
Maureen
In fairness, I was listening to this on CD and not reading the book. But after the second (of 5) discs, he seemed to be repeating himself and his stories, so I gave up. Also, the last book on CD I listened to was "The Other Wes Moore," which was engaging, well-told, and read by the author - so the bar was set really high.
Faith
It was ok -- I didn't hate it, but I don't really feel like I learned anything from it or was impacted by it in any way. He says outright that he's going for a disjointed, unedited feel with the book, and he certainly achieved that. It was like reading a stranger's moderately interesting blog.
Patrick Dugan
Nov 11, 2007 Patrick Dugan rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kerouac people
Dito Montiel's autobiography attempts to be a modern day Kerouac novel. It has great moments, especially all of the stuff from his adolescent days in Astoria. (The chapter entitled "Clowns" is hysterical.)
This is a rare instance where the movie is actually better than the book.
Lucas
I thought this book was really good. It's about a group of kids, mainly one, named Dito Montiel. It's basically an autobiography of his experiences growing up in my neighborhood, Astoria, Queens. I saw the movie and once I found out it was a book, had to read it. It was a lot different than the movie which I found mildly disappointing, but to hear about his experiences in the 80's all around the country. somewhere in his character i felt like there was something i could relate to, besides the fa ...more
Lani Neumann
Great, great great look back at a crazy youth lived to the max in Queens and NYC.

It made me reflect on my own wild youthful days - when your friends are your family and their flaws are why you love them and they love you.

Ditto reflects without judgments on the passions of his youthful days spent without a plan and lived according to the whims of emotion, whiskey and the current love of his life. Rock on!
Caitlin
The author was really annoying, there was no structure at all to the book, and after a while, it seems he forgot that he was writing about his "saints" and instead just starting writing random stories from his youth. Seems like he thought he was awesome as a kid, whereas most of us probably thought he was annoying and wished he would go away. It scares me that he's writing another book.
Verna
I read this book because of seeing the movie. I liked the movie very much, but the book is quite different. For one thing, the movie is drawn from a very small part of the novel. I liked certain aspects of the book, but at times had a hard time understanding the language and what the author was trying to say. I guess you have to grow up in that kind of environment and know the culture.
Patricia
This didn’t have the most coherent narrative, but I kept reading for the sheer joy of the voice. Dito Montel’s misadventures in the 90s make for some engaging reading. It also includes pictures, and Dito isn’t too hard on the eyes. Note that the movie and the book have absolutely nothing in common.
Lauren
I read the book after seeing the movie and was a bit disappointed. I think I liked the story of the movie better, as well as the fact that it was a continuous story. However, there were parts of the book that were absolutely superb and that make it worth reading.
Julie
I read this book several times. I even read it once while I was on vacation in New York...stayed in Queens, and visited many of the areas mentioned in the book. That was a blast! Also, the movie is wonderful!!
Yvette
Rough and tumble memoir about a kid runnin' the streets of Astoria, Queens and eventually singin' some songs, taking a few pix and becoming a friend of Bruce Weber and Allen Ginsberg. Only in New York? Yeah, really.
Donna
Dito Montiel wrote a memoir that recalls his rock and roll start in the streets of New York. I found myself looking forward to finding out what kind of misadventure Dito would get into with every chapter.
Jay
Much more significant if you grew up in a NYC bourough or want to understand what it is like - the audio of the book is also excellent
Rob Feeley
after reading about ditto's lifestyle can kind of understand how scattered brained this book is.with that said i really enjoyed it.
Jonathan
I liked it. Not necessarily the greatest writer in the world, but by the end, you know what's important to him, and you agree.
Erica
Aug 04, 2007 Erica is currently reading it
Recommends it for: everyone
I just started reading this after Michael finished it (and gave it good reviews). It draws you in right away.
Jose
It's basically about people who do nothing but party and fall ass backwards into money. And moral turpitude.
Steph Anne
Perhaps not perfectly written/structured, but I loved the humanity of this book.
Dustin Wells
self indulgent and kind of bragging but good. the movie is better.
Cathy
B; Okay, interesting life, will have to check out the movie.
Mikey
Yeah, his life was screwy. It don't mean I wish I didn't live it.
Jaime
Mind blowing?
CJ
I happened across the film based on this book (also written and directed by Dito Montiel) on OnDemand last month, and decided to stop and watch it because Robert Downey Jr. is so awesome and Channing Tatum is not especially talented, but very VERY pretty. I was fairly pleased with the movie, though it is nothing particularly new or innovative--it is the story of young Dito Montiel (played by a surprisingly talented Shia LaBouf) growing up in a tough neighborhood in New York, and also the story o ...more
David
Honestamente, esperaba mucho mas de este libro!
Cuando vi el filme por primera vez quedé perplejo, me dije a mi mismo que era una gran historia. Luego lo vi tres veces más para cavar en los personajes, el trama, los escenarios y los dialogos.
Luego vino la curiosidad por el libro ya que el mismo Montiel es el productor del filme. Desafortunadamente, me decepcionó!
Cada capítulo está escrito alrededor de los personajes más cercanos al autor, quienes son llamados santos, imagino que es parte de su pu
...more
Ashley Brodie
I read A Guide to Recognizing your Saints by Dito Montiel a couple of years ago. I bought it, along with the DVD of the film adaptation, at the same time on Amazon. The film has Rosario Dawson, Channing Tatum, Shia LaBeouf, and playing the older version of the title character, Robert Downey Jr.

Now, this title seemed to have been popping up a lot in my peripheries around then, and something about it had always drawn my attention. When I spotted RDJ was in the film, I decided to make the purchase,
...more
Dori
Kinda a "dude" book if I can be so sterotypical but still enjoyable.
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“And I understand now, maybe not completely, but more, that in times of overwhelming joy, immobile sadness, hysterical laughter, absolute fear, and sometimes just perfect quiet there is Life. Real Life. And it really is that simple. I take my gift now. I go live.” 2 likes
“We were all the same. Kids from nowhere going nowhere. He always saw a light through the darkness. Knew the cracks let that light in, and that those cracks could suck you up.” 0 likes
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