Three brothers are the sons of a Puerto Rican man and a white woman. They tell their stories as one voice as they explore what it means to grow up between two worlds.
Three brothers tear their way through childhood — smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn — he’s Puerto Rican, she’s white — and their love is a serious, dangerous thing that makes and unmakes a family many times.
Life in this home is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another. From the intense family unity that surrounds a child to the resilience and permanence of brotherhood to the profound alienation a young man endures as he begins to see himself in the world, this novel reinvents the coming-of-age story in a way that is sucker-punch powerful. It leaves us reminded that our madness is both caused by, and alleviated by, our families, and that we might not reconcile who we are with who our loved ones see, or who we want to be for them.
Cis boys: Manny, Joel, the unnamed narrator
Heterosexual: Manny, Joel
Gay/Queer: The unnamed narrator.
Not mentioned in the book. Presumed to be the same as the characters’ sexual orientation.
The three brothers are multiracial with a Latinx father and a white mother.
The father and eventually the brothers abuse the mother.
The novel is loosely based on the author’s life.
Ownvoices: This novel is ownvoices for multiracial (Latinx and white) and gay.