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Man Up: Cracking the Code of Modern Manhood

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Inspired by the award-winning poet and actor’s acclaimed one-man play, a powerful coming-of-age memoir that redefines masculinity for the twenty-first-century male.

Award-winning poet, actor, and writer Carlos Andrés Gómez is a supremely gifted storyteller with a captivating voice whose power resonates equally on the live stage and on the page. In one of his most moving spo
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 27th 2012 by Gotham
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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  157 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Tracy Towley
Sep 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
Carlos Andres Gomez has clearly had some interesting experiences that could have been compiled into an informative and useful narrative and I'm pretty sure that's what he was trying to do with Man Up. Unfortunately, it wasn't successful for me.

Mr. Gomez spends much of the book detailing the ways in which he used to be an asshole, used to be caught up in gender roles, and used to be completely self-centered. It seems he's trying to tell you where he came from and share the erroneous worldviews he
Nivruthi Vora
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Carlos has beautifully portrayed his past and present in this book in simple English. The part where he accepts his mistakes, lets go of his ego and forgives people around him is really touching and inspiring. To my opinion, this book has a lot of life's lessons one can learn from and look at circumstances in various perspectives. He also talks about following your dreams and reminded me of the purpose of absolving someone, feeling content with life. His words are powerful, made me question myse ...more
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know that old phrase "don't meet your heroes." Well, last night I met one of my heroes, and as I was walking to my car afterward I thought that if meeting your heroes is a disappointment, perhaps you're making heroes out of the wrong people? When your heroes are people who make careers out of standing up against injustice how can you go wrong, really?

It's impossible, after reading Man Up to see Carlos Andrés Gómez as anything more than human. But what an incredible, insightful, earth-changin
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very entertaining memoir! Despite the title, that is really what this book was, in my opinion. As a woman, I've been pretty curious about the "male perspective." I knew it had to be more than the stereotypical image of a man that society paints. Anyway, in between is a usually emotional poem that that sets the mood for the next chapter. This novel is written in first person and details the different chapters in Gomez's life.

I really liked how honest Gomez was. He didn't gloss over his personal
I picked this up last year at the NCTE convention. It looked like something the boys in my class could be interested in. I liked how he breaks down gender norms in society using himself and those around him as examples. Some may say it is a memoir/biography, but it is not linear in any way. It goes more by topics and with that there is some repetition, but not too much. It is confusing at times because I would try to remember what else was going on when he would talk about a particular topic.
Dec 08, 2012 rated it liked it
The first time I even heard Carlos's name was when I heard a girl perform one of his poems for school. The poem, What is Genocide, is in the book. A little while later I looked him up on YouTube and his performance was shocking in the good way. How he's so passionate and confident, in one of his performances I swear he was close to tears. When you hear his poems it's almost, I think unsettling would be a good word. Mainly because he shines a light on things that some people prefer not to look ou ...more
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like Mr. Gomez. I wanted to read this and gain some insight about what it is like for men to struggle with the shifting view and definition of masculinity, to learn about how they negotiate the liminal spaces of sexuality and power and to maybe get a sense of a process, or questions to ask that could possibly assist the men in my life who happen to be struggling with the same experience.
That isn't what I got. Instead, I got a very surface level recollection of the challenges a sensi
Simone Roberts
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I just saw Gomez at Busboys and Poets on Wed. He was touring with this book, telling stories from it, performing a few related poems (he's a spoken work/slam poet). I can't wait to read it. It gave me great hope to hear "regular folks" using phrases like "counter-narrative" and "deconstructing gender" correctly and for bettering of their lives!!

He's honest, and funny, and totally serious. Most of the book is about where he fails, where he finds new places to grow.

We need more of that view of fa
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Inspirational, insightful, intense, and imperative.

Even as a female, Man Up, was a profound experience. It gave a deep look into the social expectations and consequences as well as the truth behind what it means to "be a man." Carlos' experiences gave such meaning and insight into how destructive the strict gender roles can have on both men and women.

Working as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, this book gives an imperative look into the other side of the story. As
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was at times so very depressing. When he was writing about sex and relationships, I saw some of my friends in him. When he was writing about pride being in the way of allowing yourself to be vulnerable and reach out for help, it not only reminded me of some of the men in my life, but it also painfully reminded me of myself. What does that say about gender? Although reading this book helped me reach a better understanding of what many men go through in terms of identity formation and re ...more
Dec 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Important for all boys, men, women, mothers of boys, to read. Why is there such a narrow band of acceptable emotions for boys/men? How does that hinder them in life? How does this contribute to patriarchy and misogyny?

More memoir and personal anecdotes than straight up non-fiction and study after study, I found my heart breaking for the kid Gomez was, and respecting the man he has become. I loved the included poems/spoken word pieces he included and may check them out on YouTube.

Very well-writt
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Written about the crisis of masculinity and how we are raised to be detached and stoic in lieu of authentic and connected. It was a beautiful book. Gomez rips himself open to share and authentically explore his evolution into authentic manhood. It took me years to realize I could define for myself what it meant to be a man. Gomez has given shape and a voice to what I've struggled with for years. A beautiful writer and a brutally honest self evaluation. Just thought I'd share.
Ashley Elliott Shaw
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
this was a great book. Carlos is brutally honest about his experiences and feelings about tons of topics, not just what it means to be a man but many others. this would be a fantastically relatable book for students at college.
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Powerful and engaging. Anyone who likes his poetry will like this. Those who want to hear the story of a brave person redefining societies limited view of manhood will want to read this.
Julia Amante
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Honest look at his life as a Hispanic male. Interesting viewpoints about what it means to be a man and how society interprets male behavior. I enjoyed his stories and especially his poems.
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The most brilliant, insightful book I have read by a man (thus far).
Micah Price
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
I love Carlos Andrés Gómez’s poetry, so I assumed I would also love this book. The copy I got at a thrift store was even autographed! There are many compelling and relatable messages throughout the book. As others have mentioned, though, there is a lot of graphic detail regarding his sex life that I could have done without. At certain points in this book, I got tired of what I felt was self-congratulatory’s one thing to express pride (which I heard towards the end of the book), b ...more
Joshua Allman
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This memoir moved me deeply. Gomez is an honest and observant writer, and he turns his gaze unflinchingly on himself, his shortcomings, his strengths, and his own efforts to "man up" in a society that has no idea what that means. I am grateful for his vulnerability and his perspective. For readers like me who are interested in contemporary coming-of-age stories, I can't recommend this one highly enough.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
About this poets life.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just beautiful.
Rob Freund
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
One of the significant ways in which our society has changed within the last twenty odd years or so is our conceptualization of gender roles. How individuals of a given identified sex or gender ought to behave, what their goals should be, what they should value, are all part and parcel of the “box of expectations” that are deemed as inappropriate or appropriate. Decades back, a father being sensitive and affectionate to his son would have been frowned upon. Young boys wanting to do something oth ...more
Matt Randolph
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading "Man Up: Reimainging Modern Manhood" has been a transformative and introspective experience for me personally even though it was the story of another man's life. Carlos Andrés Gómez made me think critically about masculinity in the 21st century and I also appreciated Carlos's capacity to consider the intersection of racial identity and gender. In particular, it made me think about how both racism and masculinity work together to dehumanize and devalue men of color in society.

The poems h
Carlos Andrés Gómez wants men to stop acting like Superman.

In his memoir, Man Up: Cracking the Code of Modern Manhood (Gotham), the spoken word poet uses his own personal experiences to show how men should be open to expressing their personal emotions, including crying and asking for help and forgiveness. As he writes:

“I was taught to wipe my tears and steady my expression as a kid. Don’t talk about what’s rumbling inside of your chest. Stay stoic and quiet. It’s part of the unspoken male code.
I received this book to read for my work on the Equity and Justice committee at my school. It is certainly important to talk about the issues of men, male identity, men of color, etc. As with women, if men grow up learning to feel more comfortable in their bodies, their minds, more "themselves," if men can access their humanity, the whole world can only benefit.

I have to say I struggled a bit with this book. While the full title is "Man Up, Reimagining Modern Manhood," it's actually mostly a mem
Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it
I was a bit confused by this book. At first, it simply seemed like it would be a book detailing how men are nowadays, why this is, what influences it, and how to "man up" beyond being the tough jock who needs to solve everything with his fists. But, instead it was, in material, more like a memoir: Carlos talks about his story and occasionally tries to apply it to all men- all the ridiculous code words- "alright dude, catch you later man" that they use constantly in conversations as walls and and ...more
Jul 21, 2014 rated it liked it
I feel a lot of different ways about this book. It's interesting and it's fast, and I'd generally recommend it.

Some thoughts:

I'm not a dude, so I am not his target audience.

I don't have any patience for dudes who think ladies owe them blowjobs and they don't owe those nice ladies anything in return. I understand he's pretty clear that he fucked up like that for a lot of years, but if you're in the midst of some serious misandry, you're not going to have the patience for a couple chapters where
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is not meant to have all of the answers and it doesn't need to. What it does is tell one man's journey of grappling with the confines of masculinity. With a candidness and vulnerability, Gómez takes us through his ups and downs, his victories and his mistakes. This is a real journey -- one that isn't claiming to be pretty or simple but raw and complex. Not being the best version of oneself is something we can all relate to and Gómez offers up his story and missteps for us to examine an ...more
Feb 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book. After the first couple of chapters, I was really enjoying the message and sentiment, and then it went downhill. I'll embarrassingly admit I abandoned the book in the second to last chapter. I couldn't do it. I wanted to throw it out the window. The message and anecdotes become repetitive and whiny. Some experiences are unnecessarily repeated which lead me to believe this was a problem with the editor?? Things seem a little all over the place which was frustrati ...more
Ashley Nestler
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I met Carlos Andres Gomez in person at a women's conference at my university and he is such a beautiful person. I absolutely love his stand up poetry and this book was a great book written for men in a manner that I had never seen before. It helps to break the standards are put on men and talks about his work with male inmates and what he found while working there. I would highly suggest this book no matter what gender you are. It gives great insight into what struggles men go through and why fe ...more
Nov 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
This is not the self-help book I thought it was. It's mostly a memoir of Gomez's journey, and he does share some of his realizations of why we, as men, behave the way we do, but there's very little in the way of teaching other men how to change their behaviors. I enjoyed most of his stories and his poetry, but I wish there had been more "here's how I made my journey; here's what you need to do."
One other thing - Carlos uses a lot of cussing, and his chapters on how men use women sexually are pre
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Hailed as a “truth-telling visionary” by Brass Magazine and a “lyrical prophet” by the Caymanian Compass, CARLOS ANDRÉS GÓMEZ has been dubbed "a leading voice at the forefront of the oral poetry movement" (The Punch). A former social worker in Harlem and the south Bronx and public school teacher in Philadelphia and Manhattan, Gómez has performed at over 200 colleges and universities and toured acr ...more
“I am tired of men dying because they feel alone, feeling like they are destined for prison or monotony or gender role-playing or anything less than their most divine of dreams.” 1 likes
“I am tired of men hurting women and each other and themselves.” 0 likes
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