Parrot in the Oven by Victor Martinez
Growing up can be one of the hardest things a fourteen year old boy has to do, and Victor Martinez illustrates that theme in Parrot in the Oven perfectly. Manny is a “young man” living at home with his parents and siblings in Fresno, California. The family is nowhere near wealthy due to Manny’s father and older the brother both not having jobs. In fact, the only one bringing money into the household is Manny’s older sister, Magna. While problems ensue at home due to the poverty and increasing violence between his parents, Manny can’t fit in anywhere and struggles to make friends. He feels the only place he could fit in would be a gang. This ends up seeming like a big mistake when Manny witnesses a gang member stealing an old woman’s purse and he realizes that being a gang member would be destructive. In the end, Manny sees that he does not need a gang to help him fit in.
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