STORIES FROM EL BARRIO by Piri Thomas

STORIES FROM EL BARRIO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This lame collection of stories about growing up in the Barrio ranges from ""The Three Mosquiteers,"" a callous account of three proud Tenderfoot Boy Scouts and their comedown in the Jersey swamps, to ""The Blue Wings and the Puerto Rican Knights,"" with grimmer content--a gang fight that kills one boy and paralyzes another--but a tone that never comes to terms with the material. The flat, first-person reminiscence about a 16-year-old getting all dressed up to impress a visiting girl from Puerto Rico is as vacuous as the character, toward whom Thomas assumes a gently mocking tone. The shameful memory of getting a ""konk,"" or hair-straightening job, deals with a phenomemon of some historical interest, but Thomas' ending fails to make a story of it. There is also a boy's asinine fantasy of a night visit from a flirtatious, mini-skirted old crone and a gay devil (yes, Old Scratch himself), and a sentimental story about two ""Amigo Brothers"" who must fight each other in a Golden Gloves match. That's all, except for two episodes, both confessions of petty theft, which Thomas puts into verse form perhaps because even he recognizes that there's not enough there for a story.

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1978
ISBN: 0915117118
Publisher: Knopf