Bodega Dreams: A Novel

Bodega Dreams: A Novel

by Ernesto Quinonez, Ernesto Quiinonez

Paperback(1 ED)

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In a stunning narrative combining the gritty rhythms of Junot Diaz with the noir genius of Walter Mosley, Bodega Dreams pulls us into Spanish Harlem, where the word is out: Willie Bodega is king.  Need college tuition for your daughter?  Start-up funds for your fruit stand?  Bodega can help.  He gives everyone a leg up, in exchange only for loyalty—and a steady income from the drugs he pushes.

Lyrical, inspired, and darkly funny, this powerful debut novel brilliantly evokes the trial of Chino, a smart, promising young man to whom Bodega turns for a favor.  Chino is drawn to Bodega's street-smart idealism, but soon finds himself over his head, navigating an underworld of switchblade tempers, turncoat morality, and murder.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375705892
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/14/2000
Series: Vintage Contemporaries Original Series
Edition description: 1 ED
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 79,221
Product dimensions: 5.14(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.62(d)
Lexile: HL740L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Ernesto Quiñonez is the author of two novels, Chango’s Fire and Bodega Dreams. He is on the faculty at Cornell University.

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "Bodega Dreams"
by .
Copyright © 2000 Ernesto Quinonez.
Excerpted by permission of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

 BOOK I    Because Men Who Built This Country Were Men from the Streets                    1    
 BOOK II   Because a Single Lawyer Can Steal More Money Than a Hundred Men With Guns      83    
 BOOK III  A New Language Being Born                                                     201 

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Rich with eye-opening detail, [this is] a lively and entertaining work by a young writer whose talents are deserving of a wide readership."  -Oscar Hijuelos

Customer Reviews

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Bodega Dreams 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
MyReviewOnBooks More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite authors so I was excited to read this book of fiction. Being Puerto Rican I could identify with the characters and culture. This book is a must read!!! E. Santiago's writing style is siliar to D. L. Blanco's novel, Single Latina Female which is a really good book, too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would recommend Bodega Dreams for any high school student or college student strictly because although it¿s a good book the language is somewhat strong and the overall premise of the book is a little too intense and mature for younger readers. I really liked the major chunk of the book where chino is introduced to Bodega and at first is very reluctant to hook-up with him the only way he stays at their first meeting is because Sapo was there and he hadn¿t smoked in a long time. I also thought the Veronica or Vera angle with Bodega, chino, and Blanca involved was a very good part in the story made the ending good where it was one of those twist types of endings and not concrete which pending you preference is a good one. The only part of the book I did not agree with was the beginning of the book. I like how it started in the beginning with his childhood, but I thought it didn¿t transition well because first he had a crush on Blanca then bam he marries her. Other than that I thought it was a very solid book, that¿s worth a read.
WorldReader1111 More than 1 year ago
I liked this one. 'Bodega' was, for me, pleasing right from the start, with a readable narrative and an engaging lead-in. Likewise, the writing is generally strong, in a simple, no-nonsense style that is appropriate to the book's gritty nature yet manages to wax eloquent and thoughtful at the right times (and, at others, refreshingly funny). The story and character, too, are smartly crafted, and believable. Best of all, the book was able to maintain its hold on my interest to the end, and for the right reasons, with a good, steady flow that concluded at the right time. Top it all off with a tasteful twist ending, and 'Bodega' is, in my view, a functional piece of literature. Plus, the book has value as a sociological study. The story is threaded with a subtext of social commentary and observation, and with such a precision that it's obviously based on the author's life experience in some capacity. Though such data is certainly not up to objective, academic standards, it is relevant nonetheless, even couched in a novel. Personally, I believe there is much to be learned in fiction that's been somehow informed by real life, with it often yielding rare insights that are absent from rigidly factual sources. To be sure, 'Bodega' is crime fiction first and foremost, but its subtler substance remains quite present. Ultimately, I finished the read feeling it to be worthwhile, with equal parts entertainment and intellectual enrichment. My thanks goes out to this book's author and publisher. I am grateful for, and have benefited from, your work. * * * Some notable quotes from 'Bodega Dreams': "Every time the fire consumed a new window [...] the people who didn't live in the building would yell, 'Ole! Ole!'" -- p.144 "But what did Nazario need? He was the type who needs very little from anybody and if he ever did need something, he could get it from you without you knowing you had given it to him." -- p.168 "I was in America and in America you can say that rain falls dry and you let the jury decide if it's true or not." -- p.178 "That day when I first met Bodega he had said, 'Should something happen to me, people will take to the streets.' But it never happened. When he was killed, no cars were overturned. No fires were set. No cops were conked. Nothing. The people in Spanish Harlem had to go to work. They had families to feed, night schools to attend, businesses to run, and other things to do to improve their lives and themselves. No, no one took to the streets." -- p.204
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Bruninha More than 1 year ago
Great book. The ending wasn't expected what so ever. I recommend this book to any high schooler.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is set in East Harlem in the early 1990 and shows an inner city life of crime, underground warlords, and a sense of hope. Ernesto Quiñones depicts the conflict the character named Chino has, choosing between his religious wife Blanca and his friends in crime. The story has some flaws, such as not revealing enough about Chino's friend Sapo, not describing the brutal violence, and leaving us wanting more in the end; but otherwise, the author has written a masterpiece, depicting Hispanic struggles and lifestyle in the United States. I recommend this book 100% to teenagers, especially the Hispanic community; you won't regret it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have lived in NYC and are of Latino background you will idetify with the story told. Someone knows of someone in the situation the characters are in. The book reads easy and the plot is not exactly what you think it will be. The ending is a lesson to be learned.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonder ful book. Im in the 8th grade and so far i love it. You dont know what is going to happen next 'This is the best book I get to read to a class I had to fight to get it. I love it' my teacher said All teens sould read it, but only if you are ready for it because it has a lot of 'bad words'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Most of the books in school are so boring but this one just gets you into it. I hate reading but i was reading this book. This book leaves you guessing, makes you want to read it more to see what happens. And the end will surprise you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonder. Events within the book happen but you never see it coming. In the process of Julio trying to finish college he encounters some characters like Willie and Nazario. Both men are important in Julio's life, but he doesn't know it until it hits him. With this book I spent train rides entertained and anxiously waiting for the next thing to happen. I recomment this book to everyone, even those who dislike reading it will change your mind and you'll want to keep on reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author holds the interest of it¿s reader by the reality of his writing. That what mostly held my interest. The reality of the story as you read you felt that you were in the story. That you were there with the characters experiencing their sadness, grieves, struggles, hard times as well as their good. As they went through their ups you felt happy along with them as they went through their downs you felt a great lack of disappointment and sympathy. Another thing that made the book so intriguing was the language, as you read you felt as if you were in the setting of the book. From the language you could tell the year this book was portraying, the ethic and culture of the people, and most of all, the place. The thing that motivated me to continue reading was the humor of book. These are what held my interest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book with a social conscience written about Latinos. This book should've been an automatic bestseller with a powerful message about seeing the bigger picture in life and a wonderful story. The characters in this are unlike any other and the book contains many twists always making you not want to put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was tremendo! from beginning to end, the story line kept me hooked. its like The Great Gatsby goes to el Bronx. everyone should read it. honestly. lo va a encantar!
Guest More than 1 year ago
For someone who despises reading this book was great. The only way that I can get into a book is if it grabs me from the beginning. That was exactly what the author did with bodega dreams. It is filled with betrayal, love, and reality. this is a great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bodega Dreams enlightens and entertains the reader with experiences of what life is like in El Barrio. The dialect used in the novel gives it the authentic salsa-flavoring it merits. I hope Ernesto Quinonez continues to write more about the 'not so' originally spanish culture that most know little about,yet, so many wish to fully understand. All that was missing was some neighbor woman walking her chihuahua to the tone of Ruben Blades' song, Pedro Navaja: 'La vida te da sorpresas, sorpresas te da la vida. Wonderfully written; a must read by all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is too good that my words wont be able to describe it properly. Ima just tell yall like this...I hate books dont like to read but when I had to read this for a class report I was glad I read it cuz i finished literally in 2-3 days thas how butta it was and ironic too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Harsh language and violence. This may be how someone would describe the book Bodega Dreams if they had failed to get over the potentially offensive material meant to create a mood and background and ignored the true message featured in the book. Bodega Dreams is not about selling drugs, street alliances, or even life in Spanish Harlem. It's about dreams, the true American dream, to live in comfort and happiness, no matter where one happens to live in this nation. Set in the heart of Spanish Harlem during the eighties, the story stars Chino, a young man trying to make his way in the neighborhood without involvement in illegal street gangs. Alongside Chino are his Pentecostal wife, Blanca, and his childhood friend Sapo. Sapo is involved in drug dealings in el Barrio, through which he meets Willie Bodega, the neighborhood¿s major drug lord with big plans and dreams. One evening, at Bodega¿s request, Sapo brings Chino to an apartment where Bodega invites him to be apart of Bodega¿s plans to improve the neighborhood. From that point drama surrounding Bodega and all his activities unfolds as chino is taken on a wild ride through underground Spanish Harlem. The novel, although fairly simple and one dimensional, proves for extremely enjoyable reading with unpredictable twists and turns. Peppered thorough out the story are enhancing Spanish and profane words, giving the book a sense of validity that would have been lost without use of such words. Overall, I thought the book to be very interesting with an ending so unseen, I was put into shock. Bodega Dreams is an excellent book and a great personal read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has been the best book this year so far that i read its worth reading because if u grow up in the geto u can relate to the book. also if u are latin its the best book to read because the author use's alot of spanish words that will make u enjoy the book and laugh. 'ERNESTO IF YOU READ THIS KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK'.!