Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos

Dark DudeDark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dark Dude has such a great cast of characters. They all have their problems, but it is Gilberto and Rico, who takes Jimmy with him too that decide to leave their lives in Harlen and strike out for a better life in Wisconsin. Rico is a light Cuban American and this causes him so many problems; he is bullied becdue to his light skin, family tensions with his moms' constant hassles, a father who drinks too much and can't make enough money to support his family and a rundown, violent school. Gilberto is an older Latino friend who truly cares for Rico and makes Rico feel he can do anything. Jimmy has a horrible life but together Rico and Jimmy make comics and watch out for each other. Jimmy is the artist and Rico is the author and they have an idea for a story, "Dark Dude" or Latin Dagger. It is when Gilberto comes into money and decides to go out west and get an education and better life that changes life drastically for Rico. When he can't take his life anymore, he runs away with Jimmy and meets up with Gilberto in Wisconsin. It is this new life, which isn't always great, and his coming of age in Wisconsin (lots going on there), that really causes Rico to mature and changes the course of his life. Rico as a character is going through so much and he has compassion, morals,and integrity. He is smart, re-reads Huck Finn and loves the relationship between Huck and Big Jim. I really admired how Rico never shirked the many challenges that came his way. A great multicultural read of bonds and friendship, but one my reluctant readers won't be interested in because of the 439 pages.

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