A young Latino man recounts his coming-of-age amid the usual foibles inherent in growing up.
In his debut memoir, writer/actor Gómez brings his one-man show to the page, exploring issues of fear, forgiveness, sexuality and what it means to be a man. A self-described “middle-class, racist, light-skinned Latino,” the author often employs race as a lens through which to view his world. After an early childhood spent overseas, Gómez returned to a race-conscious America and became increasingly aware of issues regarding race. “During basketball games, at first I would be treated like everyone else, but when the referee heard someone call me Carlos, he would make tighter calls on me,” he writes. Gómez’s complaints are hardly limited to the basketball court, but soon included the failures of various schools, none of which seemed to give Gómez the support he required. The book becomes far more engaging when the author considers his own role in his life’s choices, reflecting on the hard questions. He concludes that while he was occasionally a victim of the world’s biases, oftentimes he played the part of the perpetrator as well, particularly in regard to his relationships with women. Gómez’s straight-talk approach to his philandering (as well as his obvious regret) becomes the highlight of the book, a strand of narrative that seems to absolve him of past trespasses. A greater trespass, however, is Gómez’s seemingly conscious choice to awkwardly assemble his life story to fit a storyline—a trick he often employed to impress women. “I am a pimp,” Gómez admits, speaking of his past relationships, “one who conveniently coopted this narrative throughout his life, on frequent occasion, and exploited the act of honesty to get what he wanted.” His mea culpa, while appreciated, does little to excuse the memoir its more indulgent and didactic moments.
A confidently told but not wholly inspiring memoir.