Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida

November 22, 2011

Realistic Fiction
Steve Scott
Reviewed by Acala
Rated 4 out of 5 stars

Everyone wants to be respected, and Manuel (Manny) Hernandez, a Mexican American, is no exception. However, he isn’t good at sports, can’t speak to girls, and is in love with a white English teacher. It can also be hard to be respected when your alcoholic father abuses you, your brother can’t hold a job to save his life, and your mother tries to ease her troubles by spending most of her time scrubbing the house. Furthermore, his family doesn’t even have enough cash for lunch money but Manny’s father has too much pride to go on Welfare. In his neighborhood, the only hope Manny has for respect is to join a gang, but he wants to be in control his life, not have some gang controlling it. When Manny’s family starts having troubles, Manny must decide if he should join a gang and be feared or bear the hardships of being who he truly is. When one of his friends tells him that there’s a gang that can help him make money and get girls, Manny has to choose carefully. Will Manny join the gang, or will he just live with his social standing as a loser and pest?


Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida by Steve Scott is a remarkable book and has won the Pura Belpre Award along with the National Book Award. The book is seen through the eyes of Manny, which is helpful for knowing how he really feels about the situations he goes through. In some parts of the story I wish I could see through the eyes of Manny’s mother when she deals with her drunken husband. I wasn’t so keen on the ending because I was hoping there was more to it.

The problems Manny faces everyday makes you appreciate your own lifestyle. For example, it would be hard for me to live like I’m not wanted. I enjoyed the way Steve Scott uses some Spanish lingo and accents in conversation, it makes the characters more relatable and lifelike. I recommend Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida to people who like realistic fiction with a little adventure. Over all, I believe this is a book worth reading.

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