Atria, May 2004, 25.00, 352 pp.
William Molina feels good that he is the first Hispanic-American to be promoted to management as a dispatcher in Fresno and shocks his wife Rachel, his teenage daughter Vero , and his two sons teen Billy and preadolescent Joey by taking them to dinner. The family has never been to a waitress based restaurant where a person serves the meal. Not long after that William knows he has obtained the American dream as he relocates to Oregon as a middle class worker.
However, Joey also realizes that leaving impoverished Fresno did not remove the stereotype label of Latino gang member. While Joey performs at his new school in the role of punk hood, William struggles with the darker side of the American dream that he finds lacks substance. Already known for his temper though he always controlled his fists, his anger may break his family apart if he does not learn to control his growing wrath.
This is an intriguing character study that takes an extremely dark look at the impact of the American dream on one's roots. The story line is driven by the five Molinas as readers get a close look at each of them and through them aspects of the Mexican-American culture. Daniel Chacon paints a deep tale that makes the case that assimilation is not all that it seems.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner