Nic's Reviews > Mexican Whiteboy

Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Pena
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's review
Feb 21, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: ya-lit-class-spring-2010

A good book. (I think my tolerance for books with lots of suffering in them is going up from the reading list for this class. When I actually WAS a teen, I would have put this down at the end and said, “Ack, fistfights and cutting and brutality. Somebody get me Howl’s Moving Castle and some kittens, stat.”)

I was impressed that Danny was so relatable, given that his failure to talk at some important moments could have been incredibly annoying to readers. Danny and Uno’s interest in baseball also generalized well. I personally have a deep, sometimes aggressive lack of interest in sports, but this book focuses on the characters and their passion rather than on technical stuff, so I was able to care because they did.

The title is interesting given that, after the beginning, I felt there wasn’t much focus on Danny’s race. More on Uno’s, really. Several characters just refer to Danny as “Mexican,” even in an environment where virtually everyone seems to be “more Mexican” in blood and upbringing than he is. The fact that he doesn’t speak Spanish seems like a bigger deal than the color of his skin, and no one calls him “whiteboy” for speaking English.

Some scenes are eerie, like Danny’s cutting, while others, like the incident with Uncle Ray and the car, are shocking. The pitching scenes were very strong, and had me really rooting for Danny and worrying about him.

Random thought: I feel like I’ve read other books where teenaged boys get into physical fights before becoming best friends. In fact, waaait a second . . . *Looks up The Chosen online* Baseball, one kid injures the other (if somewhat accidentally) before they become friends . . . one of them’s even named Danny! I knew something seemed oddly familiar about this book.

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