Soto, Gary. Buried Onions. Harcourt Brace, 1997. ISBN 0-15-201333-4. $17.00. 160 pp. B 9-12 FI Reviewed by Rachael W. Galvez Buried Onions is a good slice-of-life look at Mexican-American youth in a city barrio. It is rich in descriptive detail, often profound in its observations, and painfully realistic. I was drawn to the book because I lived for a short time in Fresno, California, where the story takes place. The descriptions of both poor barrios and rich suburbs are strikingly accurate. The book is about Eddie, who has managed to graduate from high school, but finds himself trapped in a dead-end neighborhood, where violence is the way of life (and death of course). The book is narrated in first person, and it is from Eddie that we get the metaphor of buried onions. To him, the vapors seen coming off the hot asphalt actually come from a big onion buried under the city, a great bulb of sadness that makes his people cry. For someone familiar with or interested in the problems of Mexican-American youth, this book is compelling. However, some readers may lose interest because the book is not particularly plot driven, but is more like a portrait of a young man and his troubled world. There are some exciting episodes as Eddie struggles to survive in a world of violence, prejudice, and poverty, but there is no sense that he has made any real progress by the end of the novel. His only solution is to escape from his society by joining the navy, but he does so without much hope that it will make things any better. In effect, he goes from one battleground to another. All of this makes the book an honest and troubling look at one aspect of the American experience. It would be a valuable subject for multicultural studies in the high-school or college classroom.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.
The information available on this site, including any text, computer codes, data, artwork, video, audio, images or graphics (collectively the "Material") are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Parties other than Brigham Young University ("BYU") may own copyright in the Material. We encourage the use of this Material for non-profit and educational purposes only, such as personal research, teaching and private study. For these limited purposes, Material from this web site may be displayed and printed, and all copies must include any copyright notice originally included with the Material. Additionally, a credit line must be included with each item used, citing the article or review author, title or article or review, title of the database, sponsoring agency, date of your access to the electronic file, and the electronic address.