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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Good Long Way

A Good Long Way by René Saldaña, Jr. is a quick read that chronicles a twenty-two hour period of three Latino teens’ lives. The first teen is Roelito, a smart student, who awakens around two-thirty in the morning to a noisy fight between his older brother, Beto, and his father. He quickly stands between the two as the fight escalates. Beto threatens to run away and leaves Roelito worried about what may become of his troubled brother. The story then switches to Beto. Beto, a senior in high school, feels like his father is too hard on him and should give him more privileges. His hard-working father is tired of Beto staying out past his curfew and only wants what is best for his sons. Beto leaves the house without shoes on his feet. The third teen, Jessy, is tired of watching her father beat up on her mother every night. She wonders when she will be next. She doesn’t let anyone except Beto know the hopes and dreams she has buried deep inside herself. Saldaña’s stories are woven together and they could be anyone’s – real voices and tough situations. This would be a great recommendation for reluctant readers. My favorite parts of this book are the hopeful ending and positive message about forgiveness. Other great books by this author include Finding Our Way: Stories and The Whole Sky Full of Stars. Click on the video below to listen to the author read from his book.

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