"What does it mean to be an American? And how does a person gain (or fail to gain) that identity? Although Torch wrote the book 15 years ago, the questions he poses are more important than ever."

—Miles Harvey, Editor, The Garcia Boy and BSB Founding Editor

 

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This book tells the story of a brilliant young writer whose life was cut short by tragedy. In 2011, the award-winning essayist Rafael Torch died from a rare form of cancer at age 36, just as his career was beginning to take off. Thanks to the work of students in the creative-writing program at DePaul University, his gripping memoir is now published for the first time.

The son of an undocumented Mexican immigrant, Torch struggled with addiction before becoming a teacher at a high school in a largely Latino community on Chicago’s Lower West Side. His unflinching memoir focuses on the murder of a star student at that school—a symbol of the overwhelming challenges sons and daughters of immigrants face as they attempt to find a place in the larger society. What does it mean to be an American? And how does a person gain (or fail to gain) that identity? Although Rafael Torch wrote The Garcia Boy 15 years ago, the questions he poses are more important than ever.

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Rafael Torch’s The Garcia Boy is an incandescent work of literature illuminating family divides, all the obstacles facing immigrants, and the quest for a sense of self and purpose. Torch is valiantly forthright, profoundly caring, razor-sharp, and poetic. The Garcia Boy belongs in every school and public library collection, and this live-wire memoir is a terrific choice for young adult and adult book clubs, and it is especially well-suited to book clubs which bring together teens and adults.
— Donna Seaman, The Booklist Reader
A hidden literary gem... I’m just struck by the elegance and beauty of his prose. ... There’s this brazen honesty, as well, which is so typical of all good writers. ... Everyone should read it.
— Steve Sanders, Anchor, WGN Midday News