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After Rainbow Boys I thought I'd just give Mr. Sanchez a pass (re-reading what I thought of that book I'm a bit confused as to why I remembered him being so mediocre... XD) But I came accross The God Box and almost without meaning to, found myself caught. I'm glad I did :)

Even though Alex Sanchez is a Latino author, the details about Mexican culture feel startlingly generic ("...my favourite chocolate, a brand you can only get in Mexico..." the main character says, never mentioning the brand.) The mention of Mexican cuissine and the random Spanish words that sound completely anglizised, of couse, Spanglish speakers do not speak what I feel is Spanish, but the vocative "amigo" still feels remarkably odd to me as a native speaker, like a calque of "friend", no Spanish speaker I have ever heard addresses their friends that way (The closest I can think is "amigo mío" which is archair like whoa). The way anything in Spanish is immediately repeated in English also annoys the fuck out of me. Seriously, if they don't know that "ay, que guapo" means "oh, how handsome" when the main character's father's girlfriend says it, what's gonna be lost? Maybe they'll go and check a fucking dictionary instead of getting everything spoonfed in English as if bilingualism was only possible for speakers of other languages. (To make matters worse at the end of the book you get a GLOSSARY with translations, so any monolingual reader had to turn a few pages to find out the meaning of courtesy greetings and other simply phrases easily deduced by the English context... v.v')


Spoilers and quotes:

Literary criticism aside... it got me all teary eyed. It's a sweet story, even if Pablo's monologue is a bit repetitive sometimes and many characters seem too amazing to be real. I kept waiting for Paul/Pablo's rejection of his Mexican identity to be addressed since it felt that it was related to his rejection of his homosexuality and getting over one would mean getting over the other... It's pretty much over with a few lines:
One other big change is that I've started going by Pablo once more, instead of Paul, and I've started speaking Spanish again. Those are small steps in reclaiming my Mexican heritage, but huge pieces in making me whole. When I thought it could have been used way more, but maybe Sanchez doesn't speak enough Spanish.

A person who makes no mistakes probably won't make anything. My grandmother used to say something like this, "Quien nada hace, nada se equivoca". I'm missing her today, I never talked to her about queer issues but I sort of know she would have been awesome about it.

The kiss in front of the parents things was totally weird, I mean, what?

"You want to know what I really think?" Manuel continued.
"No," I lied, knowing he'd tell me anyway. Which he did: "I think we've created God in our image, instead of the other way around. It's like we've built this little box and tried to cram the infinity of God into it, too afraid that if we let him out, she might challenge us too much. Then we'd have to crucify and kill him." Manuel scratched his forehead beneath his bangs as if recalling something. "Hey, wait a minute. That story sounds familiar. I think I read about that actually happening once, about two thousand years ago."
How could anyone take a story about mob violence, attempted gang rape, a God who doesn't know what's going on, sin that isn't specified, a woman being nuked to salt, and daughter-father incest, and use that story to condemn homosexuality?

Even though Pa and I got along okay batching it, having Abuelita home made everything better. At mealtimes she set an extra place, to remind us of those who didn't have enough to eat--and of the Lord's presence among us. To Abuelita, God was a member of the family--someone to talk to and reckon with. Oftentimes I'd come home and hear her in the middle of a conversation. I had to look around to check: Was anyone human actually there? Or was she talking to Jesus again? Her chats with God weren't like most prayers--at least not like mine. She could get into real arguments, nearly shouting at the Lord. As a boy I'd wondered what to make of Abuelita, but Ma had reassured me: "Don't worry, mijo. That's just how she is.

After dinner we went, as usual, to the movie--a formulaic action pic in which practically everything and everybody got blasted away by the hero. I didn't get how destroying everything made him a hero.

As I listened to her, I sliced some celery--carefully, so as not to cut myself. "But what about what the Bible says?”                                                                                                                                              
“Pablito, the Bible was meant to be a bridge, not a wedge." Abuelita nodded her head at me. "It's the greatest love story ever told, about God's enduring and unconditional love for his creation--love beyond all reason. To understand it, you have to read it with love as the standard. Love God. Love your neighbor. Love yourself. Always remember that."
2011, 2011: novel in english, book-2011, #novel, *author: male, @read in english, #queer literature, @young adult, +gay, @_usa, +religion, +philosophy, [quotes], [quotes] books

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