Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood

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Cinco Puntos Press, 2004 - Fiction - 291 pages
2 Reviews

The "Hollywood" where Sammy Santos and Juliana Ríos live is not the West Coast one, the one with all the glitz and glitter. This Hollywood is a tough barrio at the edge of a small town in southern New Mexico. Sammy and this friends--members of the 1969 high school graduating class--face a world of racism, dress codes, war in Vietnam and barrio violence. In the summer before his senior year begins, Sammy falls in love with Juliana, a girl whose tough veneer disguises a world of hurt. By summer's end, Juliana is dead. Sammy grieves, and in his grief, the memory of Juliana becomes his guide through this difficult year. Sammy is a smart kid, but he's angry. He's angry about Juliana's death, he's angry about the poverty his father and his sister must endure, he's angry at his high school and its thinly disguised gringo racism, and he's angry he might not be able to go to college. Benjamin Alire Sáenz, evoking the bittersweet ambience found in such novels as McMurtry's The Last Picture Show, captures the essence of what it meant to grow up Chicano in small-town America in the late 1960s.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz--novelist, poet, essayist and writer of children's books--is at the forefront of the emerging Latino literatures. He has received both the Wallace Stegner Fellowship and the Lannan Fellowship, and is a recipient of the American Book Award. Born Mexican-American Catholic in the rural community of Picacho, New Mexico, he now teaches at the University of Texas at El Paso, and considers himself a "fronterizo," a person of the border.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sanguinity - LibraryThing

Eh. My main beef with the book is that it is badly-written and predictable: characters are never introduced until it is time to get rid of them, no matter how central to Sammy's emotional life said ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - d_jones - LibraryThing

Set in 1968 during the Vietnam War, 17 year old Sammy, a moderately happy and good student from the barrio in New Mexico called Hollywood, faces his senior year with the violent loss of three friends ... Read full review

Contents

Epigraph
1
The Way She Looked at Me
3
Chapter One
4
Chapter Two
17
Chapter Three
26
Chapter Four
37
Chapter Five
47
Pifas and Gigi and the Politics of Hollywood
53
Chapter Fifteen
146
Chapter Sixteen
159
The Citizens of Hollywood Rise Up Against the System
173
Chapter Seventeen
174
Chapter Eighteen
183
Chapter Nineteen
194
Chapter Twenty
204
Chapter TwentyOne
217

Chapter Six
54
Chapter Seven
66
Chapter Eight
80
Chapter Nine
86
Chapter Ten
93
Chapter Eleven
102
Another Name for Exile
113
Chapter Twelve
114
Chapter Thirteen
125
Chapter Fourteen
135
Chapter TwentyTwo
228
Chapter TwentyThree
237
Welcome to Hollywood
247
Chapter TwentyFour
248
Chapter TwentyFive
261
Chapter TwentySix
280
Chapter TwentySeven
290
Author Bio
293
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

BENJAMIN ALIRE SÁENZ was born in his grandmother's house in Picacho, New Mexico--on the outskirts of Las Cruces, New Mexico where Juliana in Hollywood is set. He was the fourth of seven children and was brought up in a traditional Mexican-American Catholic family. His family spoke mostly Spanish at home, and it was only through his education in the public schools that he learned to speak and write in English. He entered the seminary in 1972, a decision that was as much political as it was religious: he was heavily influenced by such Catholic thinkers as Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, César Chavez and the Berrigan brothers. After concluding his theological studies at the University of Louvain, he was ordained a Catholic priest. Three and a half years later, he left the priesthood. At the age of 30, he entered the Creative Writing Program at the University of Texas at El Paso. He later received a fellowship at the University of Iowa, and in 1988, he received a Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship in poetry from Stanford University. In 1993 he returned to the border to teach in the Bilingual MFA program at the University of Texas at El Paso. His most recent book of poetry, Elegies in Blue, was published by Cinco Puntos Press in 2002. This is his first book for young adults.

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