Mrs.Charles's Reviews > Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida

Parrot in the Oven by Victor Martinez
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Sep 07, 2012

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Read in January, 2012

Bibliographic Citation
Martinez, V. (1996). Parrot in the oven mi vida. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers. 216pp. ISBN 10: 0060267046.
Martinez's novel explores the social hardships of Mexican-Americans in California. He addresses the struggles of alcoholism, teen pregnancy, gang violence and racial discrimination through the eyes of the protagonist Manuel Hernandez. The story follows Manuel through various scenes: picking up his drunken father at a pool hall, death of his grandmother, accidental firing of a handgun and near shooting of younger sister, older sister delivers premature baby at home, and ends with his internal struggles of joining a gang.
Awards & Analysis
This novel will stimulate class discussion because of the variety of themes. The main character is an adolescent that students will be able to relate to and understand his thoughts and feelings easily. Latino students may identify more with the novel, but the nature of Manny's struggles with society and family are worldwide.
This book is similar to Gary Soto and Simone Elkele. These authors write with a blend of English/Spanish and high interest topics. Many students would enjoy reading this book and would enjoy being able to relate to the novel.

1998 Pura Belpre Author Award
1996 Americas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature
1997 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)
1996 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

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