Sonny Bravo is a tender, unusually smart fifteen-year-old who is living with his vivacious mother in a large city where intense prejudice is not just white against black, but also brown. When Sonny’s mother, Silvia, suddenly marries an Okie building contractor named Cloyd Longpre, they are uprooted to a small apartment building, Los Flores. As Sonny sweeps its sidewalks, h...more
Spurred by what one critic said of Dagoberto Gilb's The Flowers (that its narrator Sonny Bravo could be Holden Caulfield), I read The Flowers then reread Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. The narrators do share the word "phony," it's true. Rather than interchange them, I'd like to see them meet.
Loved this book as much as the first. Plus, its attention to race and place and the book's culminating incinerations remi ...more
Dagoberto Gilb’s “The Flowers”
By Jenny Shank, 2-22-08
by Dagoberto Gilb
250 pages, $24
With his new novel The Flowers, Austin-based Dagoberto Gilb has written his most powerful book to date, digging his hands into the fraught subject of race relations, but doing so in his signature humorous, meandering, natural way that makes him such a winning chronicler of Western urban life. Although Gilb’s story alights on all kinds of touchy topi ...more
The story should have been great but I could not get past the hazy characters and the constant repetition. Everything. Was. Repeated. All. The. Time.
These people who seemed stoned right out of their heads would say something, another seemingly stoned character would answer, the original character would repea ...more
This is Gilb's first novel, I think. The rest of his work being short story collections and essays. His slim volume is packed with his always ferocious, yet surprisingly tender energy. In this case, we follow a lonely young man (pre-adolescent? it's unclear) who discovers the lives of others when he moves into a small apartment complex in LA. I've barely started the novel. I think what moves me is how sweet and sour ...more
I really loved the strong beginning and the real sense of displacement and loneliness that you got from Sonny, the main character. I also loved the very real, very authentic and strongly conveyed feeling that you got from Sonn ...more
I love how Sonny, the main character, lives two and then three languages. I love how there's a stream of consciousness going through the dialogue, Sonny's thoughts, and even the timeline (it's hard to determine how many days, weeks or whatever spans the novel). At first, it was a bit confusing, but when you get into the story, the style really works well.
If you are Latino/a, or have interest in Me ...more