Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “American Night: The Ballad of Juan José” as Want to Read:
American Night: The Ballad of Juan José
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

American Night: The Ballad of Juan José

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  122 ratings  ·  35 reviews
In this wild satire, a Mexican immigrant has a feverish dream while studying for his American citizenship exam. He meets a parade of characters ranging from Sacagawea to Teddy Roosevelt to Jackie Robinson, who take him on a mind-bending, hilarious, and poignant trip through American history. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Keith Jefferson, Richard ...more
Audio CD
Published August 15th 2014 by LA Theatre Works
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about American Night, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about American Night

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  122 ratings  ·  35 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of American Night: The Ballad of Juan José
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who like low brow racial humor but can also totally get behind 'no ban no wall'
Shelves: audiobooksync17
Moderately offensive on purpose. The jokes that weren't dependent on racial stereotyping were much funnier. I'm pretty surprised that this was picked for a teen summer reading program considering the sheer volume of racial slurs, swearing, and sexual references. God damn. I guess the Audiobook Sync people have much more faith in teens' ability to not take things at face value than I do. I'm having a hard time looking past the noise to the point on this one myself.
This is about a Mexican man trying to become a US citizen. He's studying. He has all these dreams starring people from real life American history. It makes fun of everything racist and really focuses on it. It's sort of a performance piece/stand up comedy so I can definitely see how it wouldn't be some people's cup of tea. You might kind of get the feeling like okay I get it, but it's short and pretty funny so I mostly enjoyed it.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Thank you to and their YA Summer book give away program for giving this audio book away for free.

American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose was an interesting LA Theatre Works production. It is a satirical view of American history as it appears in a dream to a Latin immigrant studying for his citizenship test.

I walked away from this production with two major points: 1. Anyone choosing to listen to this work must have basic knowledge of the American history - all of it... 2.
Remember, this is satire.

L.A. Theater Works presents a satire about a Mexican immigrant studying for his immigration test into the United States. Told through his twisted dream, we see him encounter the history of America, and watch as he struggles with his desire to be a citizen of a country who has a past of being cruel to immigrants.

This was audiobooksync 2017 week 10 pick and it’s paired with My Name is Not Easy. I enjoyed reading this NPR article about the author, Richard Montoya. It was a
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
This was a listen that got missed from last year's tween book read with Audiofile. It wasn't sad that I missed it. It would probably make for a little funny play. It made for a less so funny audio. I was not overly offended by the stereo types used because they are often used in theater because it's all "bigger" on stage. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and even that stereotype was entirely wrong, but again, it's a stereotype. I was ok with all of it. An odd ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent audiobook presentation! It's actually a play only you don't get to see anything. The characters are numerous and each has their own voice. There is music and sound effects as well. Lots of fun listening to this!
Juan Jose is getting ready to take his test to become an American citizen. However he ends up having numerous dreams. The dreams are important and poignant in that they are recreations of pivotal times in American history - times that have a great impact on Mexicans.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
An Audiobook Sync free audiobook for their YA summer program: week 10

This full cast audio is a less than 2 hour play that I can imagine enjoying as a live performance in person. It's of a Mexican immigrant as he studies for his US citizenship test and dreams a crazy adventure through some US history. This is full of push button topics, stereotypes and slurs in its pointed addressing of lack of humanity. I can appreciate what it was trying to do, but I'd probably generally put this in the upper
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't realize this was a recording of the theatre production, but it was so interesting to listen to an audio version! I love that the Los Angeles Theatre Works does this. This play follows the dream of Juan Jose the night before his American citizenship as he meets various historical figured from mainly a non-European perspective. From Sacajawea to a Japanese internment camp to Jackie Robinson, Juan Jose's experiences reveal the problematic history (and current times) of America while still ...more
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-18
L.A. Theatre Works play about a Mexican man preparing for his U.S. Citizenship exam. The night before his test he has feverish dreams filled with visits from a wide variety of famous figures from U.S. history. This was part of Teen Audiobook Sync, paired with My Name is Easy. I thought it was relevant and timely. I read some comments about racism and stereotypes and I thought that was the point of the play. Social commentary is a necessary part of free speech and immigration issues are plagued ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a play performed by a full cast by L.A. Theatre Works. Juan José is an immigrant, a policeman who fled the Mexican drug cartels and is now studying for his American citizenship exam; he falls asleep over his flash cards and has a wild dream filled with figures from American history such as Teddy Roosevelt and Jackie Robinson. It's basically an extended SNL skit: mostly funny (though some bits fall flat) profane, rude, with a few pointed truths at its core. My favorite part was the WWII ...more
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This was a short play I obtained from the AudioSync Summer downloads for teens. I am not quite sure how to react to this production. I know it was intended to be full of sarcasm and satire. It did, but as an adult there were even some references I missed! (I blame my incomplete history knowledge) I am surprised it would be for intentional for teenagers to download as there really is so much (Spanish history, American history, racial slurs and slang, inappropriate or vulgar references, etc) going ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a short and funny book about a young Mexican immigrant who falls asleep the night before his American citizenship test while studying. He he has a very humorous dream about people he has met and things he has studied.

I did enjoy the book, but gave it low marks because of the foul language and use of the “N” word twice. I always take a star off for bad language but this is lower still because this is supposed to be a book for 13 to 18year olds. This was one of the AudioSync titles for
Jun 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
I got halfway through this audio and really just couldn't take any more. I am not sure why AudioSync would recommend this to anyone let alone teens. The flagrant abuse of every culture and frequent use of obscenities and sexual innuendo was more than I could bear to finish. As for the argument that this is historical fiction, all I can say is the minuscule scraps of something that might be considered an historical fact is not worth the trauma of listening to this production.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2000-2019
Entertaining and timely. It points out the hypocrisy in the actions and beliefs of many American conservatives on the subject of immigration. Unfortunately, the people with closed minds whom it targets are the least likely to listen to the message or see themselves in the story.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The versatile and dynamic cast performed this gripping and zany story within the context of a dream, complete with interesting historical characters and thought-provoking commentary about how race and citizenship are valued in the world today.
Celia Walters
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not for the easily offended. it was a good play and it brought to light many things and exposed much. At its core it deals with the American dream and the cost of it. it kept from being merely a political discourse through humor. many stereotypes were discussed
Jan 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
I was not impressed. I found the "humor" to be lowbrow racial stereotyping that I didn't find at all funny. The language and sexual innuendo were crass and rude. I am quite surprised this was a teen summer reading selection because it seems so inappropriate for that audience.
Maggie Woodcome
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I listened to this over the 4th of July. Made me once again realize that our country has always struggled with welcoming new citizens ... "give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore" too bad we do not live up to this.
❤Marie Gentilcore
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, sync
3.5 stars. This was an amusing audio play about Juan Jose, a police man from Mexico who is studying for his U.S. citizenship test. It was a short play but I liked how it dealt with immigration in a humorous way.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Short and entertaining as an audiobook.
Patricia Klein
This play was a humorous way to review some events from history. I didn't think it was hilarious, but I did chuckle at times.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Funny stuff though I can see why some find it offensive if taken the wrong way...
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full cast audiobook.
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun and thought-provoking.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Julie Bowerman
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Timely and an entertaining performance.
Emily Maughan
Sep 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
Audiobook. That's an hour of my life I'll never get back.
Susan Somersall
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-books
Listened to the book. This book didn't catch my interest.
Funny parody of the history of America as recalled in the dream of someone studing for the citizenship exam. Can you name the orginal 13 colonies?

Audiofile selection.
Cathy Langille
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it
From AudioSync
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Rebuttal
  • My Name is Not Easy
  • Remember to Forget
  • The Red Umbrella
  • Beast
  • The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner: And Other Stories
  • Boy
  • The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor
  • Shadows on the Moon (The Moonlit Lands, #1)
  • Sugar
  • Freakling (Psi Chronicles, #1)
  • The One Safe Place
  • Bronx Masquerade
  • Of Beast and Beauty
  • Plus One
  • On Two Feet and Wings
  • Airborn (Matt Cruse, #1)
  • Teenage Diaries: Then and Now
See similar books…