From one of America's most beloved writers comes this compelling memoir of his adolescent search for meaning and identity. When Victor Villaseñor turned sixteen, his father's gift of a brand-new, turquoise pick-up truck was accompanied by another gift: words of wisdom that would guide him on his path to manhood. "You are a man now, he said, and to be an hombre, a man must not only know right from wrong, he must also know who he is and who he isn't." In the weeks to come, however, Victor disregards his father's advice. Swayed by his friends ridicule, he has his new truck painted white to cover the vibrant turquoise, once his favorite color. Soon, he realizes his mistake. "I'd done exactly what my dad had told me not to. I'd listened to other people's opinions instead of listening to what I'd felt inside." So begins this poignant and moving account of Villaseñor's coming of age.
Growing up on his parents ranch in North San Diego County, Victor Villaseñor's teenage years were marked by a painful quest to find a place for himself in a world he didn't fit into. During his search, Victor wrangles with the usual questions of adolescence: Is it normal to think about sex all the time? Do good girls like sex? Is sex before marriage a sin? But Victor struggles with more than just his burgeoning sexual awareness.
The son of a self-made, successful man, he is different from his peers because of his Mexican heritage, and he experiences both subtle and outright discrimination because of this. Raised in a tight-knit, Catholic family, he questions the tenets of his faith and the restrictions it places on his own developing spirituality and sexuality. After high school, Victor's quest for who he is and who he isn't takes him to Mexico, where he is shocked to learn that Mexicans aside from his father are successful. They are architects, professors, and artists. Most importantly, he meets an older woman who cultivates in him a deeper understanding of his own intellectual capacity and helps him see the world and his place in it in a whole new way. This experience allows him to appreciate his own potential and realize his dreams of making a difference in the world through writing.
A powerful portrait of a young boy on the path to manhood in the shadow of his influential father, Crazy Loco Love adds a new chapter to the grand tradition of coming-of-age books. Destined to become a classic, this new installment in Villaseñor's body of work confirms his place as a leading American writer. Crazy Loco Love will enthrall his many fans and surely win him new ones.The book starts out with several quotes. I'll give you one since they were all saying the same thing in a different way:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." — Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles)This is a coming of age book. It showcases how Victor Villaseñor discovered his philosophy for life. For living. It starts with a child emerging from a black and white world in terms of sexuality into the confusing pallet of an adolescent. It is very straightforward and honest in this respect and I imagine some people having a hard time with it. However, if you see it as a rite of passage and a beginning into thinking for himself, you understand why he was so honest. It is one way we are wakened up to the world and he is very honest about it's confusion.
As the book goes on we also see how prejudice can influence your self-image. Words have power only when you let them, but how can you recognize that power when people keep telling you the same thing before you are able to grasp that you can think for yourself? He shows what impact racism had on his life. This is as poignant today as it was in the late 50s early 60s when this book was set.
He also shows how he came to his view on religion, male/female, love, labels, in fact all major aspects of life have been influenced by fear. Fear that was institutionalized by others and especially by ourselves. Basically, to me this is a book that philosophizes how we can free ourselves by freeing ourselves of the fear that holds us back. In fact, I would have loved to see a conversation between him and one of my favorites, Joseph Campbell. I believe that would have been a interesting discussion indeed. :)
How do I rate this book? That is a hard question. I enjoyed the philosophy but the writing was a bit erratic. That could have been purposeful as adolescence does seem very erratic at times. The message still comes through and so because of that I will give it 3 1/2 stars. This is not a book for everyone. Not everyone wants their world questioned. So, bear that in mind.
Below is a short speech by Victor Villaseñor:
I was given this book by the publisher and no compensations was given for my review.