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Buried Onions

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  1,120 Ratings  ·  178 Reviews
On the mean streets of southeast Fresno, nineteen-year-old Eddie is just trying to get by. All he wants is to forget his violent past, hold down a job, and walk a straight line. But after his cousins murder, Eddie finds himselfslowly but inexorablydrawn back into the cycle of violence. . . . Set against the backdrop of a city sweltering in the grip of poverty, crime, and u ...more
Paperback, 149 pages
Published April 30th 1999 by HarperTrophy (first published 1997)
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Duffy Pratt
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
I'm not sure why I'm putting this on the children's shelf. If I had discovered the book differently, I doubt it would have occurred to me that this is a YA book.

The book is bleak, unrelenting, and beautifully written. In the first person, the narrator's language at times seems too lofty for his character, but it works. The narrator is a 19 year old fuck-up in Fresno, CA. He was smart enough to get into college, but dropped out. Earlier in life he was more interested in sniffing glue, inhaling sp
Feb 24, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2009 rated it liked it

Buried Onions by Gary Soto

The three strongest elements of this book are voice, setting, and character interractions. The book is written in the first person. The narrator/protagonist narrates with an amazingly poetic voice which is almost incredulous considering his upbringing, but somehow works in beautiful contrast to the subject matter and setting. His mind is filled to the brim with similies, metaphors, analogies and parallels. He’s a young man living in a world of malevolent ignoranc
Blake Evans
May 10, 2015 rated it liked it
I think that this book provided a serious look on the struggles of some monorities in a crime-infested city. It was very realistic and everything seems to flow in the story. The only thing that seems odd or missing was a happy ending, but that's what gives this book a realistic feeling because sometimes life doesn't give you a happily ever after ending. The setting took place in Fresno, California in the 21st century. This was a good setting because this is where most Hispanic cultures migrate t ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this as an eAudiobook. It really grabbed me and helped me see another side of life, and how one can not only survive it, but get beyond it. It is a coming of age story.

Gary Soto's stories take me down unexpected paths, and I'm never disappointed with where I end up. I highly recommend this story.
Jul 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Snapshot: Like insects caught in fly paper, Eddie is stuck in a life that has few opportunities. Scraping by on Ramen and water, even a can of soda is considered a treat in his world. Yet idle hands are the devil's tools, and Eddie soon finds him hometown of Fresno becomes overwhelmingly oppressive. His seemingly friendly boss calls the police to have him arrested. His mother won't help him out financially. His favorite cousin was recently stabbed to death and his acquaintance is trying to kill ...more
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Buried Onions is about Eddie, a soda drinking, number painting, cholo. Now, Eddie had a pretty rough past, and is struggling even now to recover from his bad habits, like paint-sniffing, but the main plot of the story lies when his cousin, Jesus, gets stabbed and killed by a mysterious man with yellow shoes. Only Jesus's best friend, Angel, knows the guy, but he's pictured as a pretty evil guy and could have been the killer too. Nevertheless, Eddie is a pretty lonely guy, he even reaches a state ...more
Austin Nauman
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion I believe that the plot was very realistic. I like how they portrayed a troubled boy (Eddie) in a troubled setting trying to turn things around in his life. For a boy like Eddie that is very hard to do so it is realistic that he couldn't turn it around completely but his life got better. The plot did make sense, it told you why Eddie was you could say “set up” for failure and why failure was not that big of a deal to most people in Fresno, it was expected. I don’t believe anything ...more
Aaron Alexius
Jul 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Snapshot: A bildungsroman for a kid in the barrio in So Cal. Eddie is living alone in the treacherous war grounds that the barrio in Southern Fresno. He’s got no job, dropped out of community college, and is in the midst of dealing with his cousin’s death while he tries like hell to get out of the hell of the hood. Continual heartbreak, broken dreams, and betrayed trusts rule Eddie’s life and squeeze the last tears of childhood from his beaten soul as he buries his hurt like so many buried onion ...more
Feb 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
A conversation with another BTR resident, who said that this book was completely lacking in hope, got me thinking. Am I just used to books like that, having devoted so much of my life to reading literature by Zainichi Korean (Koreans in Japan)? I recall a conversation about the short story "Crimson Fruit" by Kim Chang-saeng, a second-generation Zainichi Korean, that we had in one of my grad. school classes. Someone made reference to how unrelenting it was, in contrast, to, say, Toni Mo
Jul 11, 2010 added it
Snapshot: Buried Onions is a story about Eddie, a nineteen-year-old Latino man living in Fresno, CA. He has no direction in life and feels trapped in a city of sorrow, poverty, and loneliness. He thinks everyone in Fresno is so sad because there are onions buried underground, providing a constant source of tears.

Hook: I think students would be interested in this book for the street action inside: Eddie is involved in situations that include robbery, gunshots, blood, drugs, and both running from
Mar 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Snapshot: Eddie has a theory about Fresno, CA. He thinks that onions buried under the city are responsible for the pain and suffering that its people live with. It’s easy to understand why he thinks so: having dropped out of air conditioning school, he lives life day to day. Stenciling house numbers on sidewalks for spare change, he barely has enough to eat, and cockroaches are slowly taking over his apartment. And if this wasn’t enough, the murder or his cousin and the stabbing of one of his be ...more
Jul 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Snapshot: Eddie is a nineteen-year-old Mexican boy living in Fresno, CA. Eddie has lost his father, two uncles, best friend, and most recently his cousin. After what happened to his cousin, he is constantly accosted by his aunt to avenge his death. Eddie believes that there are buried onions underneath the city and that’s why people are always sad and can’t escape the sorrow.

Hook: I think students will be able to identify with the action in the story, Eddie’s background, and where he lives.

Christina Staton
Buried Onions is a book about a mexican guy named Eddie, who lives in the run down part of Fresno, California. He had made it through alot of things in his life. He lost his cousin becuase he was into gangs and gang related violence. He "ran" with gangs but never hung out with them all the time. Eddie's aunt is trying to get him to kill the person who killed her mijo, her son. Eddie doesn't want to cause anymore violence or get involved with gangs anymore. He is trying to keep his appartment by ...more
Adam Steffensmeier
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading Buried Onions by Gary Soto. I thought the story was very realistic and showed me how it would be like to grow up in the ghetto. It made a lot of sense to me and I was able to easily envision what the main character was going through during his life.

The book takes place in Fresno, California. It is a very good location because there is a lot of poverty in Fresno, California and the ghetto there is the perfect setting for the book. Eddie is the main character in the stor
Jul 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Buried Onions: Gary Soto
Date Finished: July 2010

Snapshot: Eddie is a young man living—surviving—in Fresno California. The book starts off at a difficult point in the narrator’s life—he just dropped out of community college and his cousin Jesus was recently stabbed in the heart. Angel, Jesus’ friend, is pressuring Eddie to kill the person who stabbed Jesus. Eddie tries to stay on the straight path, but his boss’s car gets stolen in his neighborhood, and he loses his job, the only positive thing h
Feb 27, 2011 rated it liked it
At 19, Eddie has successfully avoided getting involved in gangs in his hometown of Fresno, although many of his old friends and family members have not. He's mourning his cousin and deflecting his aunt, who wants Eddie to avenge his cousin's murder. Eddie's also trying to make a living and realize the American Dream, although he's beginning to think that's just a fairy tale people tell their kids. He's finding that no matter how straight he tries to live, Fresno's environment will always drag hi ...more
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Buried onions was honestly a very good book in my opinion. At first I thought it was just going to be another boring book I had to read for school, but I actually quite enjoyed it. The plot was really rich and showed a lot of great detail. It even all made sense after you put the pieces together. I love the fact that it is located in Fresno because it is really fitting for this plot and storyline. The poor kids and the gangsters where the crime rate is high, that's kind of how it is labeled. I l ...more
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Eddie always smells the scent of onions in the air--the sharp bitter odor of hopelessness and anger that haunts the poor side of Fresno. After his cousin is killed, his aunt urges him to seek out and punish the murderer. To avoid the pressure building in his neighborhood, Eddie takes a landscaping job in an affluent suburb. But this too goes awry when his boss's truck is stolen while in his care. In the end, with his money gone and a dangerous gang member stalking him, Eddie's only choice is to ...more
Alex Larsen
Jun 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Nineteen year old Eddie is attempting to escape the barrio life he was raised in, but a lot of bad luck seems to follow him, and no matter what he does it seems he gets dragged down deeper into a lifestyle he is trying to escape. Eddie's descriptions of his life are often painfully honest, and the reader is often captivated by his descriptions. I liked Eddie's perserverance but also the frank manner in which he approached his situation, and it gave me an appreciation for how difficult it is for ...more
May 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joseph Askharoun
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very well written, intriguing story, Mr. Soto! It wonderfully captures the life a man attempting to live a "straight" life, attempting to get out of the Fresno rut created by the gangs and criminals there. Of course, we all mess up sometimes, and eventually, Eddie does the same. Just before the beginning of this story, Eddie`s cousin, Jesus, was murdered by "a man in yellow shoes." Shortly after, a rumor goes around that Angel, another gang-type criminal, knew who the person that had killed Je ...more
Taylor Lee
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Over the summer i read a book called Buried Onions: I thought it was really good. It was about a young adult named Eddie. He lives in Fresno, California, a rough part of California. He has just dropped out of community college, he had been a troubled kid being a gangster. But being grown he's trying to stay out of trouble. He has different jobs that he tries to keep him away from trouble. He tries painting numbers on curb sides and he does work for his neighbors, but something always got in the ...more
Porscha Outlaw
May 19, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is about a guy named Eddie who is Hispanic, wasn't wealthy and lived in a bad neighborhood. He battled with trying to keep money for living expenses, food and not having a well paying job. Throwing in a mother who wants revenge for her nephews death and begging Eddie to get rid of his killer, Eddie has a lot on his shoulders. Will he be able to handle it, and if not what will he do?
Nov 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Soto captures Eddie's hopelessness as he tries to escape oppressive gang life. The gritty realism adds to the isolation he feels in his desperate situation. Here is one for boys, especially reluctant readers.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Felt episodic, but gritty and engaging. I wish there were more of it.
Steve Owens
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Soto is an awesome writer. Can't wait to read more of his books.
Jack Beavers
Sep 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Eddie, a poor, tired, confused young man on a quest for one thing only, a purpose on this planet. Eddie is a nineteen year old resident of Fresno California. Coming from a traditional Mexican heritage, he battles to avoid the magnetic horror of gang violence. Gary Soto’s “Buried Onions” is a sad yet true story of the difficult life of an ex-gang member. After scanning through my classroom bookshelf, I found a small book with a fairly interesting name, and decided to try it out, eventually comin ...more
Ben Charipar
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Buried Onions
By Gary Soto

Eddie is an 18 year old teenager who lives alone in a rough area of Fresno, California. As Eddie tries to live his life penny by penny, he is also trying to escape violence wherever he goes. The plot of the story was very realistic. From Eddie growing up and living in a rough, poor, and violent-filled city, the solution to get away from all this was to join the Air Force. The flow of the story was very smooth as well. The only thing that some readers would find confusi
Dylan Philbrick
Eddie and his family have deteriorating relationship because everyone in his family is either gone or dead. Having only the support of his mom, Eddie struggles to peruse his interest in community college. That fact that Jose is not able to have a relationship with the majority of his family is a big absences in his life and stunts his development. Personally I only know from the kids point of view but I need my family to discuss issues, questions or concerns. Without my family I would be trouble ...more
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buried onoins 1 6 Nov 21, 2011 08:59AM  
The Road Eddie was Headed 1 6 Nov 18, 2011 02:03PM  
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Gary Soto, born April 12, 1952, was raised in Fresno, California. He is the author of eleven poetry collections for adults, most notably New and Selected Poems, a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly, Poetry International, and Poetry, which

has honored him w
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“going back and forth, back and forth, getting nowhere” 11 likes
“The black asphalt wouls shimmer with vapors I had a theory about those vapors...not released by the sun but by a huge onion buried under the city. This onion made us cry... I thought about the giant onion, that remarkable bulb of sadness.” 9 likes
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