Jesse

( 18 )

Overview

From Gary Soto, author of Local News, comes a touching and honest novel about a young Mexican-American boy's coming of age in the shadow of the Vietnam War. Jesse and his brother, Abel, have plans for their lives--to rise above poverty and desolation by furthering their educations.

Two Mexican American brothers hope that junior college will help them escape their heritage of tedious physical labor.

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Overview

From Gary Soto, author of Local News, comes a touching and honest novel about a young Mexican-American boy's coming of age in the shadow of the Vietnam War. Jesse and his brother, Abel, have plans for their lives--to rise above poverty and desolation by furthering their educations.

Two Mexican American brothers hope that junior college will help them escape their heritage of tedious physical labor.

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Editorial Reviews

The ALAN Review - Joan Nist
Jesse is a gentle story of a gentle boy growing into manhood. There is violence-Jesse must fight a bully twice-and there is an ominous background of a drunken stepfather, poverty and prejudice in Mexican-American life, and the era of Vietnam. Author Gary Soto nevertheless writes in a quiet tone of hope and faith. Jesse, artistic and religious, is forced to field work to pay for food while he attends a junior college after leaving high school. He remembers that once "I worked on my knees nine hours - one hundred seventy-eight trays of grapes-so I could buy my mom an umbrella." The book ends with the shock of Abel, Jesse's older brother, being drafted. A friend (named Jesus) tells Jesse not to follow by enlisting. Instead he returns to summer field labor. Readers of Jesse will gain appreciation for a young man persevering amid family dysfunction, ethnic injustice, and confusion about goals and girls.
Merri Monks
To escape a home dominated by his alcoholic stepfather, 17-year-old Jesse abruptly leaves high school, moves into an apartment with his older brother, Abel, and takes classes at Fresno City College. It is 1968, and the brothers face both the threat 20of being drafted and the daily grind of their poverty. Racial and class prejudice limit their employment opportunities to field labor, and they pick melons, oranges, or cotton, depending on the season. Soto skillfully reveals the truth about the brothers' lives through details: in a particularly wrenching scene, they try hitchhiking to Pismo Beach 20for their spring break. Stranded for several days along the road, they shiver together through the night, never reaching the ocean. Jesse is artistically gifted and shy around girls; his struggles to communicate with girls, to date, and to succeed both socially and academically in school transcend the specifics of race and class. But Soto's story of a particular Mexican American boy in Fresno, California, during the height of the Vietnam War is rich in the details of Jesse's life and culture--his friendships with other Mexican Americans, his involvement in Caesar Chavez's farm workers' movement, his struggles to find himself and a meaningful life in spite of the limits placed on him by poverty and prejudice. All in all, a highly readable novel.
From the Publisher
"Readers looking for a finely written, contemplative narrative will appreciate this work."—School Library Journal (starred review)
 
"Just as Soto tenderly captures Jesse’s tentative forays into adulthood, so he paints a more universal picture of the lives of Mexican Americans in central California in a time of cultural and political change. A moving, engrossing novel that contains strands of both humor and despair."—The Horn Book
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590528375
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 172,806
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.64 (w) x 4.08 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Soto 's first book for young readers, Baseball in April and Other Stories, won the California Library Association's Beatty Award and was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. He has since published many novels, short stories, plays, and poetry collections for adults and young people. He lives in Berkeley, California. Visit his website at www.garysoto.com .

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(6)

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 23, 2014

    Jesse is an astonishing book that has amazing descriptive langua

    Jesse is an astonishing book that has amazing descriptive language. Gary Soto uses a language where you can feel yourself step into the book and picture yourself watching all of the action. Soto makes it so easy for you to feel so many emotions like pain, sadness, or even anger. You are able to make so many connections with the book and can reflect on so much. The characters have perfect personalities and are perfectly shown throughout the story. Gary Soto will take you through a ride of emotions throughout Jesse’s journey in the hard life. This story will have you in tears by the end and wanting to hug your mother. This is an incredible story and should be read by millions of teenage kids. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2008

    Great Book!

    Gary Soto never seems to fail. His books are phenomenal! In most of his books he talks about growing up in the Mexican-American community of Fresno,CA. I am from this area, many things have changed,but you can put play the entire story,and believe every part. This book is a great page turner!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2008

    Never disappointing, Gary Soto!

    My tenth grade ELL students who often complained about reading this year, took their time savoring every detail of this book. By the end most of my students, agreed that next year's sophomore English class should begin the year with this very special reading of 'Jesse'. My students were more than able to relate to the very intimate and honest feelings of Jesse, who decides to leave home with his brother to enroll for college one year earlier than planned. Along the way he experiences life as we all do, alone and yet with companions who accompany us for short whiles on our journey. Every young Mexican desires to go to college in spite of what anyone thinks. 'Jesse' by Gary Soto motivates, captivates , and inspires young adults to do just that!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2008

    my own experience

    The most important theme in the essay ¿Jesse¿ by Gary Soto is outstanding. For example, Jesse and his brother Abel wanted to live free and not with their parents so they can be independent. The story takes place at their parent¿s house. In my opinion this is a very good book. I really like how two Mexican Americans wanted to make their dreams come true. These two guys are a very good example of two field workers that they didn¿t want to work in the fields anymore they wanted to be someone important with a degree and make their parents feel proud for them. They two brothers they were together everyday and for everything they do. Jesse wanted to get out from high school, and he decided to start college early. But after all he realize that it was better to stay in high school and finish it, and then go to college. But what I am really surprised is that this guy lived in Fresno, and I live a couple miles from Fresno. His life is a really good example to follow and be proud for what he did survived with out his parents but after all he returned to his house because his brother went to the NEVY: Jesse went to a university and finished his career, and now he has a family. I definably recommend this book to everyone who want to know hard it is for a Mexican American to have an education and become what they want.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2007

    doing this for class

    In the book Jesse by Gary Soto, is about two Mexican Americans who left their house to live by their own. They work as well they attend to college. This story takes place in Fresno and cities around. I like to recommend this book too all the people that wants to know how is the life of Mexican Americans or immigrants. In parts can be kind of burring, but not to burring to loss interest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2004

    Jesse, from a 12th grader's perspective

    I must say that I am an avid fan of Gary Soto. In Jesse, his first novel for young adults, I am amazed at the beautiful imagery he recalls from the time of his teens. This book should be read by anyone who has grown up in a small town (especially California) and is a minority struggling to break free of the social and economic restrictions that tie them down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2004

    Jesse

    In the book Jesse,it's about two Mexicain American brothers Jesse and Able who live a hard life. Working the fields to earn enough money for each of them to go to college is a major dream for both of them. The struggle with dealing with their verbally abusive alcoholic step father who always criticizes them proves to be trying at times. Dealing with the pressures of school and worrying about being drafted in the Vietnam War.The book left one feeling sorry for the two brothers. I didn't enjoy the book like I thought I would. It didn't hold my interest. I wouldn't recommend reading this book. I found it to be quite boring at times and drawn out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2002

    It was the best book ever since the lion king

    That part was my favorite

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2001

    Review on Jesse

    This book was an alright book. I thought that Gary Soto did a great job using a charecter to go through the problems that many Mexican Americans did in his own way. I recommend this book to all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2001

    A tenth grade review on Jesse

    The story Jesse by Gary Soto talked about Mexican-Americans, and how they were poorly treated. I enjoyed and was very interested in learning about the poor working rights, and how Mexican Americans were treated in general. This story tells how Jesse and his brother Abel lived on there own and had to get money working at poor waged jobs. This story was set at a good pace, and you just have to understand how they feel to get into the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2001

    A Tenth Grade Review

    'Jesse' describes a Mevican American bot trying to fight for his people. This book shows how people can help each other fight for freedom. There are parts to this book that i could not understand, but overall it was a good book, but it also went really slow. It had romance, and family problems and if you are someone that likes books that move slow, but show people getting along and fighting for what they believe in then you will like this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2001

    A tenth grader's opinion on Jesse

    I disliked the book. I disliked the way it kept repeating events again and again. I liked how the book was slow-moving and in first person. I disliked hearing how the mexican-Americans got treated. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about a different heritage.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2001

    Jesse

    I thought that this book was ok and was a little interesting. It was interesting reading about a different culture of people. I have not had to scrounge for money, or for things to sell to get money. I thought that the first person writing style made this but read easier. It was a little slow moving but it wasn't too slow to make you get really bored.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2001

    Jesse

    We have just finished using Jesse in a tenth grade English class in Middlebury, Vermont. Our class uses a theme of journey to analyze books. We discussed how Jesse was in the mix of many journeys; the journey to construct his own life away from his parents, the journey to seperate his beliefs from the traditional beliefs of his parents, and ultimately the journey to break the mold of being a Mexican-American farm worker in southern California to become something else, an artist. Gary Soto's Jesse acted as a great mode to discuss all of these issues and more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2001

    Jesse

    This is a fabulous novella of how a character that is oppressed by the norm of life in southern California combats racist stereotypes to become an artist instead of a farm worker. Very inspiring!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2000

    A deeply moving story

    'Jesse' is a touching,funny and moving coming-of-age story. I was deeply moved by Jesse's faith and innocence in the midst of political turbulence and poverty. I felt I really got to know Jesse through this novel, and when I finished the book, it was like losing a friend. This story affected me long after I finished reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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