My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
3.5 of 5 stars
House of Order may be one of the more gripping, interesting and unusual collections of short stories I have ever read. I have to admit, it took me a little while to “get into” the book, as the MC, Manito, uses quite a bit of Spanish in the stories. It has been far too long since I have read any Spanish, so that held me at arms length for a bit.
Once I got past the feeling of being on the outside looking in, I was able to really sink myself into these short tales as narrated by Manito’s uncle, Neto.
John Paul Jaramillo paints a bleak, but vivid picture of the harshness of Hispanic life after the steel industry closes down. I really like the style he uses — a minimalistic approach as it were, telling and showing us so much with so few words. He holds nothing back, making sure to show us the brutality of the lives they lived. We see the Ortiz family struggle with drugs, alcohol, religion and familial abuse.
At only 108 pages, the stories are short and to the point, but even with their brevity, they speak volumes about what it was like to grow up in that harsh environment, and I really felt like I had a much better understanding of the Hispanic male psyche by the time I finished the last page. I would warn that this is not what I would consider a “happily ever after” type of book. I found myself a bit broody when I was finished — as some of the truths and realities expressed in the book are just that heartbreaking.
I think of all the stories (or chapters), my favorite would me “Little Blue Box”. The story had me laughing out loud and my boyfriend wondering what the heck I was reading that had me so entertained.
Despite being a white, Irish girl, I still felt drawn into the experiences of the characters as if I was living through them alongside Neto and his family.
Overall, I would say I enjoyed this book much more than I expected, and would give it 3.5 of 5 stars.
I would recommend this one to any fan of short story collections and for anyone looking for a glimpse of what life is really like in a Hispanic family.
Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of The House of Order?
Well, there are two ways to enter…
- Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official House of Order tour page.
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest! You can enter on the official House of Order tour page–since I can’t host rafflecopter contests on WordPress.
About the author: John Paul Jaramillo grew up in Southern Colorado but now lives, writes and teaches in Springfield, Illinois. He earned his MFA in creative writing (fiction) from Oregon State University and, currently, holds the position of Associate Professor of English in the Arts and Humanities Department of Lincoln Land Community College. Connect with John Paul on his website, Facebook, Twitter or GoodReads.