Far from perfect, but a new voice to watch. Gabe and Tomas are teenagers being raised by their Filipino mother. Their Anglo-American father, long-gone, has left them with little more than a mixed heritage that challenges both their sense of self and place in the world. Gabe, the good younger son, watches silently as his brother, sporting the tattoos and attire of a Mexican gang member, plummets further into a threatening world of theft and brutality. Expelled from school, Tomas turns to breeding and training attack dogs for L. He feels more isolated than ever.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. American Son by Brian Ascalon Roley.
A powerful novel about ethnically fluid California, and the corrosive relationship between two Filipino brothers. The older brother, Tomas, fashions himself into a Mexican gangster and breeds pricey attack dogs, which he trains in German and sells to Hollywood celebrities. The narrator is A powerful novel about ethnically fluid California, and the corrosive relationship between two Filipino brothers. The narrator is younger brother Gabe, who tries to avoid the tar pit of Tomas's waywardness, yet moves ever closer to embracing it.
Their mother, who moved to America to escape the caste system of Manila and is now divorced from their American father, struggles to keep her sons in line while working two dead-end jobs. When Gabe runs away, he brings shame and unforeseen consequences to the family. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published May 17th by W. Norton Company first published March 17th More Details Original Title. Kiriyama Prize Nominee for Fiction Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about American Son , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of American Son. Mar 22, Rachelle Ayala rated it really liked it.
Realistic and edgy portrayal. I know exactly what the two brother, Tomas and Gabe feel, and had I been a boy, I would have run with the tough guys and gotten into the trouble that boys without fathers have.
We were the foreign ones with the weird clothes and our mother was very much like Tomas and G Realistic and edgy portrayal. We were the foreign ones with the weird clothes and our mother was very much like Tomas and Gabe's mother.
I completely understood the Fedco scene and later on the scene at the pharmacy when the salesgirl pointedly ignored their mother and acted like she was nonperson, the Asian mother who shies away from sales people and feels ignored and shunted aside, and people who look down on them with the broken English. My mother had a parking lot incident where a woman accused her of denting her car with a shopping cart, even though my mother was returning the cart to the holder and wasn't near her car.
This woman hounded my mother and followed her home haranguing her to just pay up. They feel they can pick on the older Asian woman who speaks broken English and scare her into paying. This story was very real for me growing up in Los Angeles and the author's descriptions are true, from the spindly rat infested palm trees to the smudgy plastic stackables from the smog , the hazy thick Marine layer, the thin strip of beach were the airplanes take off over, and the pavement filled with tar in the cracks rather than fixed.
The cultural landscape is also real, at least for people over thirty. Maybe now, younger Filipinos have more pride and nationalism, but I have friends who have Filipino mothers, but are half white and they have green eyes and light skin. Friends who claim they're Italian or hang with Mexicans. And the word Flip, that's what they used to say before Pinoy, even when referring to themselves.
I did get this story and enjoyed it. The brothers really did love their mother but showed it differently. Tomas with gifts and Gabe by being there. And at the end, they stood up for her the only way they knew how, and even though the story had no real ending, it is realistic for literary fiction and I appreciate that the author did not foist an unrealistic sappy happy ending when life is not that way.
May 29, Sherlin Gonzalez rated it liked it. This book also made me very mad because of the internal oppression and in a few occasions the racism. The mom acted very dumb like she can't set her foot down and got walked over. She could have done a lot more for her children but decided and chose to let them keep steering the wrong way. Mar 21, Ahtziri Hernandez rated it liked it. I rated this book a 3 out of 5. It was an okay book. I felt that this book would have been better if it was from Tomas point of view.
Apr 02, Maria Arechiga rated it really liked it. I gave this book 4 stars because I liked it but I didn't like the ending. I think that it would've been more interesting if it also had Tomas's point of view, Gabe's was okay but sometimes you couldn't trust how he viewed everything,since he is young and only sees his own point of view.
Overall I liked the book and I would recommend it because this book shows what people have to do to give their kids abetter life style and how facing racism can change them. May 21, Denisse Cruz rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoyed this book a lot, mainly because I like coming of age books and this is one.
And loved how relatable this book was to me and other ppl who also read it. May 19, Kendy Mendoza rated it liked it. This book is a good book. It is about a Filipino mother who make to America, in order to give her sons a better life.
She has not adapted to america's costumes. Her sons are not very appreciative of their mother, they are embarrassed of her because of the way she looks and acts.
The main point of book was about how both sons do not care care for the mother, and the mother does not do anything about it. Out of the two bothers I think the oldest ones is the worst of the two sons. May 16, Cyntia Flores added it Shelves: book-challenge.
I think this book was really good. The story was very interesting, I really liked it and I think that it's very relate-able.
As a teen, I know that a lot of us teens go though similar things that Gabe went through. We do things that will affect our lives in the future.
This book has three parts to it, separation, journey and return, those are all the stages a teenager goes through to get to adulthood. This book does a really good job at showing what Gabe goes through.
Although it was a really go I think this book was really good. Although it was a really good book, I don't like the way it ends. I need more. Like, what happens after? Mar 20, Paola rated it really liked it. Although this book was fictional it showed what a lot of colored people in America and with 2 different cultures go through. We each go through a journey of finding our identity and who we are.
As a Mexican American women in the U. S I sometimes get conflicted over my two cultures. Should I look or act more Mexican at home or should I act more American at school? I find myself also struggling with my own identity but I do know that I love my Mexican side, I just need to learn to mix both of them Although this book was fictional it showed what a lot of colored people in America and with 2 different cultures go through.
I find myself also struggling with my own identity but I do know that I love my Mexican side, I just need to learn to mix both of them into one. I hope to see a part two of this book because the ending was a little upsetting.
American Son Background
These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. It was originally published exclusively in the English langauge, but was later translated to Filipino because of the subject matter of the novel. The book chronicles the lives of two Filipino brothers and their semi-successful attempts to assimilate into the culture and society of Southern California. One brother, Tomas , has chosen the rough way of life.
Hard-hitting and brash, this debut novel takes a cold, clear-eyed look at the American immigrant experience. Come home, urges Uncle Betino in a letter from Manila at the beginning of Roley's tale. But Betino's sister Ika, divorced from her American husband and living in the U. One of her boys, Tomas, has assumed the persona of a young Mexican street thug and is helping her make ends meet by raising and selling guard dogs to rich clients. His brother, Gabe, the story's narrator and the good son, seeks to understand the mysteries of his adopted country. Roley uses the familiar Cain-and-Abel approach to illustrate the occasionally vicious tug of wills between the two youths, whose relationship is being slowly altered by the outside forces of the alien American culture.
A powerful novel about ethnically fluid California, and the corrosive relationship between two Filipino brothers. Told with a hard-edged purity that brings to mind Cormac McCarthy and Denis Johnson, American Son is the story of two Filipino brothers adrift in contemporary California. The older brother, Tomas, fashions himself into a Mexican gangster and breeds pricey attack dogs, which he trains in German and sells to Hollywood celebrities. The narrator is younger brother Gabe, who tries to avoid the tar pit of Tomas's waywardness, yet moves ever closer to embracing it.
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