the madonnas of echo park-brando skyhorse

“Felicia wouldn’t dream of seeing me, the father of her child, deported, but what a man doesn’t understand is that a woman has an infinite capacity for love and generosity no matter how long she’s been debased and abused-until she decides she is out of love.” (12)

“When men want relief they hire a whore. When women want relief they hire a cleaning lady. And they did it the same way-first they examined our bodies.” (28)

“This was the confirmation I needed that God hears the screams of a man better than those of a woman. From that day, God kept my uncle out of our beds, but he also stripped us of a place to live. Archie threw us out of the house. My mother and sisters and blamed me, and I was sent to a convent, where I tried to fend off the monjas’ beatings and bed hoppings with my prayers and my fists. Prayers are weaker than mousetraps; my fists got God’s attention.” (57)

“…they made their choices, and there’s no reason to feel sympathy for someone who wants nothing out of her life and gets what she aims for.” (75)

“This is what women do, when they have an ocean of dreams but no water to put them in.” (27)

i heard brando talk about the next book on the philly free library podcast (let’s ink that in the tour itinerary, k captain?) and put them both on hold at the same time. i don’t always remember who wrote all the books i want to read, and somehow released both books from hold at the same time, and got them both at the same time. thus, i read them back to back, and you’ll see them on blog in that order. i can’t unknow what i’ve learned, so with the knowledge of his stranger than fiction story, i can understand why he was so adept at writing the female perspective.

i just logged onto twitter with the intention of telling him that his writing is beauty-full, and got caught up in the all-day “conversation” i’ve engaged in with the ttc. for the record, i usually find the service at least satisfactory to fair to make the most of it because it’s all we got, but on my way to work today-dood just set it off wrong, trying to intimidate me with his charges of my photographing the ridiculous bottleneck that is forever dufferin loop being “illegal”. the non-apologies and avoidance by brad ross and co. were simply shame-full, and all i wanted was an acknowledgement that it shouldn’t have gone down like that, but no-we gotta keep skirting the issue. whatever. we made it 2 tomorrow, and that’s the end of it. like 19 turnovers and a loss in the last 14.8 seconds-we gotta shake it off. i did manage to tweet brando, so mission accomplished.

“Faith has colors, she says; otherwise those stained-glass windows in cathedrals would be as see-through as a horny man’s promises.” (156)

“If second-generation Mexicans could canonize a living saint in Los Angeles, it would be Morrissey. Like most of the Mexican girls and gay boys I knew, I went through a vicious, life-consuming Morrissey phase in high school, one that for a period of time made me hate the queen of England and Margaret Thatcher more than I hated the Los Angeles Police Department. White girls who could tell what kind of music I listened to by the way I dressed would come up to me and say, ‘You like Morrissey, too? Why? He’s not Mexican.’ I’d say, Then why do you love Prince? Or hip-hop? I never understood why when a white person likes a musician who’s not white, they’re cool, but if a person who isn’t white likes a musician who is, they’re a freak or, worse, a sellout.” (155)

“Was this because I did the charitable thing and invited friends over to my house to watch? Hell, no. Part of the fun of being a kid comes from having things other kids don’t have and lording it over them.” (xiv)

“Before I’d finished putting away the groceries, I knew I was going to cheat on my wife.” (10)

“I lived in that invisible space where people like me live, the place between darkness and blindness where you try to make a life and everything is paid for in cash and sweat.” (23-24)

“The girl, her skin a blend of her parents’ but also a shade entirely her own, saw me and covered her smile with her hands. She could have been my grandchild, I thought, loved by those who didn’t know how to love those who made her.” (100)

“What kind of man shoots a girl, even if by accident, then doesn’t turn himself in? And what kind of men protect that man?” (103)

“Everything I have earned in this life by lying, I have lost. By lying.” (23)

faith. work. love. some combination of that (holy) trinity revolving to reveal the purpose of life. that’s what this book is about, and that’s where this book is strongest. i love that the form reflects the content, and it’s told in a circular fashion-in a kind of literary round of characters’ perspectives that show how peoples’ lives may be intertwined but never truly linked. i especially love the discussion of recreation as re/creation or rec/creation-an idea that i’ve been thinking about for some time now. what we do to relax and unwind is in a way how we create the world, or re/create it to reflect something different, something ideal. something to deal with the day to day realities of faith, work, love, and life. and it’s also how we empower ourselves to live another day, and forever.

rip baby madonna.


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