Brando Skyhorse Take This Man: A Memoir

ISBN 13: 9781439170878

Take This Man: A Memoir

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9781439170878: Take This Man: A Memoir
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Named one of Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Books of 2014
One of NBC News’s 10 Best Latino Books of 2014

From PEN/Hemingway award winner Brando Skyhorse comes this stunning, heartfelt memoir in the vein of The Glass Castle or The Tender Bar, the true story of a boy’s turbulent childhood growing up with five stepfathers and the mother who was determined to give her son everything but the truth.

When he was three years old, Brando Kelly Ulloa was abandoned by his Mexican father. His mother, Maria, dreaming of a more exciting life, saw no reason for her son to live his life as a Mexican just because he started out as one. The life of “Brando Skyhorse,” the American Indian son of an incarcerated political activist, was about to begin.

Through a series of letters to Paul Skyhorse Johnson, a stranger in prison for armed robbery, Maria reinvents herself and her young son as American Indians in the colorful Mexican-American neighborhood of Echo Park, California. There Brando and his mother live with his acerbic grandmother and a rotating cast of surrogate fathers. It will be over thirty years before Brando begins to untangle the truth of his own past, when a surprise discovery online leads him to his biological father at last.

From an acclaimed, prize-winning novelist celebrated for his “indelible storytelling” (O, The Oprah Magazine), this extraordinary literary memoir captures a son’s single-minded search for a father wherever he can find one, and is destined to become a classic.

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Review:

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2014: Brando Skyhorse channeled the Mexican-American voices of his LA childhood in his PEN/Hemingway award-winning novel The Madonnas of Echo Park. But growing up there, he felt distinctly at the fringes, the outsider son of a Native American chief who’d been imprisoned when a political action turned violent. His mother, living by the caveat “at least it’s never boring,” took up with a string of (sometimes overlapping) stepfathers, each presented as his new dad. But at 30, he discovered this real father was a Mexican who’d disappeared when Brando was three--driven off by his erratic mother, who took that opportunity to dramatically revise their history. In a voice rich with grit and grace, Take This Man tells a taut, absorbing story of searching for a father, reconciling an invented identity with some version of truth, and struggling to understand a mother whose grand fabrications and violent outbursts made his early life so electrifying and recklessly chaotic. He doesn’t sugarcoat, and against such rough terrain, his compassion and humor are astonishing. With this book, Skyhorse claims his place among the best modern memoirists. --Mari Malcolm

About the Author:

Brando Skyhorse’s debut novel, The Madonnas of Echo Park, won the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award and the Sue Kaufman Award for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Skyhorse is a graduate of Stanford University and the MFA Writers’ Workshop program at UC Irvine. He is the 2014 Jenny McKean Moore Writer-In-Washington at George Washington University.

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