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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obviously, he stirs up quite a controversey...
...and he probably wouldn't be very pleasant to meet in person. However, the book as it stands alone comes from uncharted country, penned by a cartographer with a talent for shaping complex sentiments into sometimes literary, sometimes brittle, language. Rodriguez uses his talent with language to give those of us lost in this wilderness a map, showing us (first and...
Published on 27 Jan 1999

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was Able To Relate To Author
There were times in the book where Rodriguez went on and on about being a scholarship boy and continuously speaking about his ideas about bilingual education. I found that to be extremely pointless. That's probably because I didn't care about what he thought about bilingual education, or maybe because I totally disagree with his views about the two subjects. Overall I...
Published on 1 Oct 1998


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obviously, he stirs up quite a controversey..., 27 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (Mass Market Paperback)
...and he probably wouldn't be very pleasant to meet in person. However, the book as it stands alone comes from uncharted country, penned by a cartographer with a talent for shaping complex sentiments into sometimes literary, sometimes brittle, language. Rodriguez uses his talent with language to give those of us lost in this wilderness a map, showing us (first and second generations with origins in the third world and feet in the first, the wretched of the earth, the people without history) where he has already been.
Neither Mexican nor American (at least in the WASP definition), and unable to balance on the hyphen between the two, Rodriguez is an outsider, and this is his sad, tragic song (as he says, these are essays composed in "sad, fuguelike repitition"). He is neither a proponent of traditional Mexican culture (exposing his relatives' resistance to change and Americanization) nor of American culture (he points out the self-indulgence of his own generation). Rather, he is a "comic victim of two cultures."
Many have complained of his egomania, and those observations are probably at least half-true. However, there is a much deeper and more painful current to this book that few are willing to acknowledge. This book is about loss, and while Rodriguez says that his story is also a story of gains, it really is a story of loss. The closing scene of his family at Christmas, a meal of strangers connected by blood but separated by language, centuries, and deserts (remember his mother moving uncomfortably with a forced smile between conversations with her Americanized children, or the impenetrable silence and near abscence of the author's father), is a horrifying portrait of the silent conflict and alienation the first two generations (immigrant, American-born) have always faced in this country.
While this book was more political and pro-Americanization, his second book of essays, "Days of Obligation", is much more "Mexican". In this book, the firm belief in Americanization has eroded, the foundation having been shaken by all of the demographic changes this country, especially the West Coast, experienced in the 10 years between the publication of the two books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was Able To Relate To Author, 1 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (Mass Market Paperback)
There were times in the book where Rodriguez went on and on about being a scholarship boy and continuously speaking about his ideas about bilingual education. I found that to be extremely pointless. That's probably because I didn't care about what he thought about bilingual education, or maybe because I totally disagree with his views about the two subjects. Overall I think that Rodriguez did a good job in conveying his views and beliefs about many things. He tied them to the fact that he was a bicultural child who had lost his Mexican identity. The reason why I could somewhat relate to him, is because I am also a bicultural American. It wasn't the same for Rodriguez. He didn't feel he was Mexican, and he certainly didn't take pride in that. He got sucked into the big melting pot of this multicultural nation, forgetting all that he had. I have to admit that I probably would not choose to read this book if it wasn't assigned to me through school, but I'm glad that I did, because I got to think about what preserving your culture and heritage means. I recommend this book to all bicultural people, only because if you're not bicultural you'd have trouble relating to the author, and then the book will REALLY be hard to finish. :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Book Which Reaches us All, 1 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (Mass Market Paperback)
Richard Rodriguez has taken the time to write about what many people experience. An amazing author, Rodriguez takes experiences from his own life, and he extends them to strangers who unwillingly relate. Rodriguez is a Mexican-American man who grew apart from his family in order to gain a "public identity." He does an outstanding job of pointing out how both Mexican and American society simultaneously alienates people for being different. His powerful experiences and writing style can extend to any class, race, age, or gender. His common experiences are what many people have also experienced. Rodriguez does a tremendous job in explaining the public vs. private self, which I have found to be extremely true. A great deal of people in today's society can either compare or contrast their own experiences to his life, which makes his writing so much more powerful than his fellow authors. The issues Rodriguez discuss are all important in society and too many people can relate to his suffering, which says something about society. This is a tremendous book to read, because it makes people reflect on their own life, and take a closer look at how society truly transforms a human being.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Richard Rodriguez: Fact or Fiction?, 30 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (Mass Market Paperback)
I was exposed to Richard Rodriguez's "Hunger for Memory" in my "Latinidad" Literature class.
At first, the book seemed to me incredible, amazing in its ability to describe in such detail how it feels to grow up as a first generation American. However, after having considered Rodriguez's positions I became increasingly convinced that he was a fraud, or at least very confused.
In the Prologue Rodriguez makes it very clear that "Caliban won't ferry a TV crew back to his island, there to recover his roots," yet, several years after writing "Hunger for Memory" Rodriguez accepts a narrating position for a BBC documentary on Mexican villages.
Rodriguez makes it very clear that he is not the "minority" or "ethnic" scholar yet, he is still willing to represents "Hispanic" interests in conferences and he still stands up when they announce him as a "Chicano."
Rodriguez, while not making it exactly clear in his writings, is evidently homosexual. His lifestyle is therefore incompatible with the Catholic church he still frequents even though he does not believe in church dogma.
Rodriguez presents diametrically opposite ideas in his text. He, therefore,undermines his own arguments. The book loses its validity and becomes a pathetic attempt to explain why he is not Mexican. Rodriguez does not seem to understand that his refusal of his heritage is futile because no matter how educated he becomes the color of his skin will not change.
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5.0 out of 5 stars lyrical,mesmerizing,and deeply,deeply painful!instant clasic, 29 Mar 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (Mass Market Paperback)
Rodriguez has succeeded in making public a very private pain that all those of us Mexican immigrants feel when we look in the mirror one day only to recognize that we are not as we thought we were. For me, "Hunger's" bells tolled most loudly when it talks about the quiet and agonizing recognition by the college student coming home for summer from college to face his parents who are no longer his parents in that cultural sense; or perhaps they are his parents in the past for admitedly the student is no longer who his parents thought he was who they want him to be. This prompted in me the important realization that is a part of all Mexican immigrant experience in los estados unidos: that our parents very much want us to learn the language and the ways of el gringo, to use them to our advantage to get ahead; but what they failed to tell us, and perhaps what they themselves failed to recognize was that they never intended for us to make that language and those ways OURS. Our immigrant parents can never recognize that with-out that particularly Chicano American experience (understood as a dialectical flow between the Mexican and the "American") we, the children of immigrants--first generation in the public educational system of America--are not ourselves. The book is excellent at bringing out some very hidden inconsistencies and irrationalities of the everyday life of the Mexican in America, but while it advocates an inevitable assimilation as progressive (if painful in the spheres of the family and greater cultural identity) it fails to recognize that for many there is another modus operatus: cultural schizophrenia- in one sphere one must pretend to be "Mexican" as with the parents and the immediate family, and "American" but still not fully "American", so then Chicano in the public spheres of work, school, etc. I highly recommend this book to all those children of Mexican immigrants, and to immigrants themselves who've been a victim of the American public educational system. In fact, it should be required reading at the very latest by high school. If you read the book and only remark "it stinks" or "he's a sell-out" then perhaps you, as I did, have something you cannot yet face- the recognition that you are lost between the two worlds which compete for not only your identity, but your very soul. Rodriguez' position is a very tricky one to grasp, and yes it is difficult because the author is not always linear in his logic, but that is the nature of life, so read it! I read it my first year in college, and hated the author for what he said because it was all (almost all) true; by the last year in college, I wantedto use his book as a foundation for my thesis.Rodriguez has been a pioneer in the experience of the immigrantr child going away to college, and although aI disagree with his conclusions and his fatalist attitude toward his parents and his Mexican culture, I would very much like to meet him and discuss his book. Anybody know where to find him?
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4.0 out of 5 stars excellent!, 4 Dec 1996
By A Customer
This review is from: Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (Mass Market Paperback)
Mr. Richard Rodriguez has open a window to all the Hispanics who couln't be considered "Hispanics" before through his writting. He explains how the
education might change one's thoughts from one's original ideas inherited by one's cultural heritage, meaning that one never ceases to be physcally a Hispanic
but morally and mentally one will break the mold society has forged about one's self. Mr. Rodriguez explains an educated minority could feel allienated from its past,
since it many times represented a state of ignorance. His writing might make him sound as a brown Uncle Tom, to a narrow minded person, since he clearly makes abosulte sense
for one can not compare one's obscure past to its enlighted present, nor to the past of a one's ancestors since they did not have the knowledge that one has acquire through intense study.
Mr. Rodriguez is considered a traitor by many, an assasin of the Latino culture in the US by disapproving of affirmative action and bilingual education, but the only assasins of an ideal American
society, where all ethnicities are recognized and respected, are those who insist in keeping their people tied to old values and customs that far from being beneficial, result in harmful pracitices,
since their people will be left behind from those who accepted the new culture, and adapt their customs to it. Mr. Rodriguez offers solutions to a question in the Latino community, that not many
writers, or intellectuals for that manner, pay attention to, that is, who is a really a Hispanic, the person who goes to the ballet folklorico every time it is in town, or those who fight for a better
future for themselves to set the standard for the next generation to overcome? I think he might have all the answers, but to agree or disagree you'll first have to read the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rodriguez explains it all!, 1 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (Mass Market Paperback)
Rodriguez introduced opinions to me that at first seemed off the wall. He his essays offer ideas on topics you would never expect him to have in consideration of his racial and cultural background. As he explains his strong controversial views, he exposes the reader to a new way of thinking. He defines ways in how corruption that stems from lack of communication and understanding can destroy any aspects of a good intention. People are all different and life is hard for everyone, sometimes the obstacle is simply acceptance of your situation. Rodriguez's mainly writes to an audience that does not relate to his life experiences, he writes to the world as an identified human being.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all 1st generation American immigrants, 1 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (Mass Market Paperback)
Immigrants from all races can relate to Rodriguez's experience. Being an immigrant myself and growing up during my teen years in melting pot Los Angeles, my experiences were in most cases similar to the author. The book reveals the personal issues he had to face with becoming an assimilated educated Mexican-American and losing his native cultural identity and how it affected his relationship with his family. However he neglects to mention what most immigrants had to face with, racism. Reading this book helped me to deal with my own personal issues with regards to assimilation, race, and family.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening novel that captures the readers soul., 26 Nov 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (Mass Market Paperback)
Richard Rodriguez magnificently explores the socio-economic and cultural identity of the Mexican American in his book, Hunger of Memory. By examining Mexican Ancestry, social class and education, Rodriquez boldly goes where no Chicano has gone before. This book reveals the struggle of a family, and the reality of his identity. Controversial stances on Affirmative action and Bilingual education, are at the heart of the novel. Although I am not Mexican, I can almost feel the passion and heartache of his struggle through his dialogue and language. Buy the book, and watch your perceptions change.
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5.0 out of 5 stars eye opener!, 5 Dec 1996
By A Customer
This review is from: Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a text that many 1st generation Americans will feel an affinity for. Rodriguez reveals the intimacy that exists between immigrant parents and American-born children in the primary language. After reading his book, I understood the closeness that I feel when speaking my parent's language with them. He admits to losing a part of himself during the assimilation process and this book is a must read for teachers who have diverse classrooms to teach to.
I plan to use parts of it with students. I think that his experiences are universal at every level.
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Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez
Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez by Richard Rodriguez (Mass Market Paperback - 31 Dec 1996)
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