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The Mexican Man in His BackyardKy Guys the narrator tells s and that is the honest truth In my story certain versions are played with but none of them ntrue That is the virtue of writing imaginative non fiction You get to do what the fuck you want This spirit of fearlessness propels the rest of the essay as gutierrez ses speculation and personal reflection to Gutierrez Dying Inside uses speculation and personal reflection tos how something bad did indeed happen at Lucky Guys Herrera had bullied the narrator throughout elementary school years before their encounter at Lucky Guys Years after Lucky Guys Herrera became a junkie In the recursive landscape of memory something bad did indeed happen at Lucky Guys Herrera triggered Gutierrez s retrospective impulses impulses that carried through his teenage years and culminated in an essay filled with the regret and sadness that has clung to his memories like barnaclesA sense of fearlessness permeates The Mexican Man in His Backyard a collection of essays and short stories set IN GUTIERREZ S YOUTH IN EAST LA AND ADULTHOOD Gutierrez s youth in East LA and adulthood Fresno Whether he s writing about watching his father succumb to Huntington s Disease or the paternalistic privilege of white academics or his inability to connect with the Mexican neighbor who d watch Dodger games while seuestered in the back yard Gutierrez illuminates the sadness and beauty of recollection with courage and clarity Gutierrez gets. Me in Gutierrez's trilogy of essays and stories which also includes Elements winner of the Nilon Award and Live from Fresno y Los winner of an American Book Award sponsored by the Before Columbus Foundation Writer Alejandro Murguia praises the book Stephen Gutierrez captur. ,


SUMMARY The Mexican Man in His Backyard

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I loved this book Stephen Gutierrez s collection of stories and essays about the mexican american stories and essays about the Mexican American in LA and Fresno California is gritty and graceful grounded and soaring The pieces here are very personal about Gutierrez s life his father dying a long drawn out painful death and his family s struggle Gattaca under the weight of it his own awkward childhood coming of age and forays into adulthood Yet as personal and specific as these pieces are I felt intimately familiar with the emotion at the heart of each one I didn t growp Mexican American but I know that loneliness that confusion that need to armor p I even know that tired rundown somehow still beautiful neighborhood I just know it by another name Stephen Gutierrez s writing is funny and heartbreaking and often it s both at the same time His asides which are often addressed to the reader directly are disarming and delightful as full of bravado as they are sort of aching sweet Humility For All It S In The Essay Lucky For all it s gritty In the essay Lucky Forever the young narrator sits in a booth at Lucky Guys a local burger joint and struggles with feelings of inadeuacy as he watches a former classmate named Herrera preen over his beautiful ten speed bicycle We are told Herrera is in trouble even though nothing particularly bad happened in Lucky Guys that day Nothing bad happened at Luc. Stephen D Gutierrez's essays and stories recreate the Mexican American culture of Fresno and the working class East LA of his youth in the 1970s offering memories as both poignant and sharp painful and funny The Mexican Man in His Backyard is the third and culminating volu. To do what the fuck he wants Because He S Telling The Truth We he s telling the truth We he s telling the truth because we believe the things he says And readers believe the things he says because from the first sentence on our guide addresses the subjects of his pieces with tenderness while assessing himself with a brutal honesty that is precise lyrical and nsettlingReading The Mexican Man in His Backyard I precise lyrical and The Mystery Science Theater 3000 unsettlingReading The Mexican Man in His Backyard I reminded of how all great writing aspires to draw the reader into its world I spent a good chunk of my twenties living in East LA and I always felt like an outsider No matter how hard my very kind neighbors tried to embrace my presence I never felt as though I belonged there This book was not only a homecoming of sorts but by accessing his internal monologue in such an effortlessly conversational tone Gutierrez finally made me feel like an insider than a decade and over 400 miles later Creative non fiction isnfairly seen as the bastion of the self centered The practitioners of this craft are freuently viewed as people who can only write about themselves can only illuminate what has happened to them With The Mexican Man in His Backyard Gutierrez shows The Rocky Horror Picture Show us how essayists have the ability to write about their lives in ways that resonate with all of our lives Stephen Gutierrez isn t merely writing about himself he s writing about all ofs. Es the mood language and Nightwings unexplainable sadness of places we all know Sometimes essays sometimes fiction sometimes both Modern and postmodern these pieces paint a vivid picture of Fresno and LA and offer sharp portraits of Chicano poets and others laced with irony and beaut.