Happy Birthday Jesus

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Arte Publico Press, 2003 - Fiction - 216 pages
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A gripping novel of madness and despair now available in paperback for the first time Happy Birthday Jesus chronicles the creation of a monster: Jesus Olivas, a Mexican American boy raised by his grandmother in northern California. In a society where survival of the fittest is the key, young Jesus Olivas' shyness and sensitivity become a malleable and vulnerable disadvantage. 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 loved him, and an attack that maims the parish priest he both hated and feared. Jesus is sentenced to thirty years behind prison walls in what becomes a labyrinth of unending horrors. Ruiz's successful probing into the anatomy of madness and despair combines a lyrical rendition of the most abject aspects of the human situation with keen irony.

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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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