Happy Birthday Jesús

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Arte Público Press, 1994 - Fiction - 314 pages
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Happy Birthday Jesus chronicles the creation of a monster: Jesus Olivas, a Mexican American boy raised by his grandmother in northern California. Survival of the fittest is the law in young Jesus' world, but his shyness and sensitivity become a dark mirror for the weaknesses and sinfulness of others. Transformed into the perfect victim by his grandmother, a religious fanatic, and the teachings of his parish priest, Jesus is progressively abused and brutalized. At eighteen, he marks his coming of age with the savage rape of a prostitute, the only person who ever loved or be-friended him, and with an attack that maims the parish priest he both hated and feared. As a result, Jesus graduates from the supposedly nurturing institutions of family, church and school into the labyrinth of horrors that is the correctional system.
Happy Birthday Jesus is a masterpiece of understatement that combines a lyrical rendition of the most abject aspects of the human condition with keen irony. It is a revelatory and spellbinding probe into the anatomy of madness and despair.

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Happy birthday Jesús

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The belabored first-person narrative of this debut novel presents the repeated clash of sex and religion in the life of a sensitive young Mexican American man who has grown up under the reign of an ... Read full review


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