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Named one of Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Books of 2014 One of NBC News’s 10 Best Latino Books of 2014
“A West Coast version of Augusten Burroughs’s Running With Scissors...A funny, shocking, generous-hearted book” (Entertainment Weekly) about a boy, his five stepfathers, and the mother who was determined to give her son everything but the truth.
When he was three years old, Brando Kelly Ulloa was abandoned by his immigrant father. His mother, Maria, dreaming of a more exciting life, saw no reason for her son to live as a Mexican American just because he was born one. With the help of Maria’s ruthless imagination and a hastily penned jailhouse correspondence, the life of “Brando Skyhorse,” the Native American son of an incarcerated political activist, was about to begin.
Through a series of letters to Paul Skyhorse Johnson, a stranger in prison for armed robbery, Maria reinvents herself and her young son as American Indians in the colorful Mexican-American neighborhood of Echo Park, California, where Brando and his mother live with his acerbic grandmother and a rotating cast of surrogate fathers. It will be thirty years before Brando begins to untangle the truth, when a surprise discovery leads him to his biological father at last.
From this PEN/Hemingway Award–winning novelist comes an extraordinary literary memoir capturing a mother-son story unlike any other and a boy’s single-minded search for a father, wherever he can find one.