Synopses & Reviews
Growing up on his parentsand#8217; ranch in North San Diego County, Victor Villaseand#241;orand#8217;s teenage years were marked by a painful quest to find a place for himself in a world he did not fit into. Discriminated due to his Mexican heritage, Victor questions the tenets of his faith and the restrictions it places on his own spirituality and sexuality. Ultimately, his search for identity takes him to Mexico to learn of his familyand#8217;s roots, where he soon discovers that his heritage doesnand#8217;t determine his intelligence or success. Through this often humorous and poignant tale, Victor deftly undermines the macho stereotype so often associated with Latinos, while exposing the tender vulnerability and naand#239;vetand#233; of a young man grappling with the roles foisted on him by the church and society. Victorand#8217;s youthful misadventures elicit sympathy, laughter, and tears as he attempts to divine the mysteries of the opposite sex in this powerful, revealing memoir. and#8220;The clarity that comes from Villaseand#241;orand#8217;s personal and cultural experience is not matched in any of Steinbeckand#8217;s major worksand#8221; (andlt;iandgt;Los Angeles Timesandlt;/iandgt;).
Through this often humorous and poignant tale, Villaseor deftly undermines the macho stereotype so often associated with Latinos, while exposing the tender vulnerability and naivet of a young man grappling with the roles foisted on him by the church and society.
About the Author
Born in the barrio of Carlsbad, California in 1940, Victor VillaseÑor was raised on a ranch four miles north in Oceanside. Since his parents were born in Mexico, VillaseÑor spoke only Spanish when he started school. After years of facing language and cultural barriers, heavy discrimination, and a reading problem, later diagnosed as dyslexia, VillaseÑor dropped out of high school his junior year and moved to Mexico. There he discovered a wealth of Mexican art, literature, and music that helped him recapture and understand the dignity and richness of his heritage.
When VillaseÑor returned to the United States at the age of twenty, he began to feel the old frustration return as he once again witnessed the disregard of poor, uneducated people, especially Mexicans. A chance encounter with James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man changed his life; it awakened a desire to use literature to confront the problems that continued to plague him associated with his cultural heritage.
VillaseÑor’s acclaimed written works, as well as his inspiring lectures, have earned him numerous awards and endorsements, including the Founding John Steinbeck Chair appointment.