American Son has ratings and 45 reviews. Rachelle said: Realistic and edgy portrayal. I know exactly what the two brother, Tomas and Gabe feel, and h. American Son is a novel that was written by American author Brian Ascalon Roley and published by W. W. Norton & Company Publishing in paperback format in. Tomas is the son who helps pay the mortgage by selling attack dogs to rich people .. Excerpted from American Son by Brian Ascalon Roley.

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Gabe clearly tries to give himself an identity as the good son and the good brother. May 25, Caroline rated it did not like it Shelves: Gabe and Tomas are teenagers being raised by their Filipino mother. I found this book to be deeply disturbing. Hard-hitting and brash, this debut novel takes a cold, clear-eyed look at the American immigrant experience. Unbeknownst to Gabe, the driver has called his mother, knowing the kid must be running away.

I had the privilege of attending a reading and book signing of Ascalon Roley and with how humble and soft spoken he is you would never guess that this book would be such a punch in the gut. While some portions of it resonated personally with me, as a second generation Filipino bria in LA myself, that was definitely not enough to save this book.

American Son

His betrayal of himself and his mother with the truck driver was enough to make me cringe; I almost had to put the book down. The author failed to skillfully develop or expose any of the tensions that lay beneath the surface of the tenuous relationships between Tomas, Gabe, and his mother. On the other hand, the story took a while to get into, at least in Part 1.


I will admit though that the story didn’t quite work for me as a whole. Their mother, who moved to America to escape the caste system of Manila and is now divorced from their American father, struggles to keep her sons in line while working two dead-end jobs. And the word Flip, that’s what they used to say before Pinoy, even when referring to themselves.

In my “Manliness in American Literature” class, we were all a little disappointed that this book didn’t delve into homosexual rape or road trip philandering. The story is punctuated by the other’s brother in the Philippines who writes to her offering to have the boys “back home where they would learn respect and be disciplined properly”.

Parts 2 and 3 focused more on that and carried the story more effectively than Part 1. I enjoyed getting a view into Filipino culture and their American experience, a view I was previously lacking.

The author creates a few piercing images, but, overall, roleyy plotting is thin, leaving behind an impression rather than a fully realized story. There are not unexpected happy endings for this family.

This gets a three out of five, som because what Roley did with the narrative structure didn’t work for me. Grim, sad, violent, dark.

Novel Conversations: American Son, by Brian Ascalon Roley

A very sad rad and a case of intelligent youth just wasting their lives through some sort of anger and resentment against society. Roley has created characters that I felt sorry for, but with whom I did not necessarily enjoy sharing company. Tomas, the older of the two, has been kicked out of their Catholic high school in Los Angeles, dresses like a Latino gang member, and breeds and trains attack dogs to sell to nervous celebrities.


Two brothers are sons of a Filipino mother and a white American father. Although the book doesn’t end all neatly tied up in a little bundle, I think it reflects more accurately real life and it’s vagaries.

It’s not long before he is back home, ashamed and ready to submit to the will of both his brother and America. Lists with This Book. Mar 09, Joshua C. Feb 12, Natalie rated it really liked it. My family had moved to America before I was born and because of this novel I think about the struggles they have gone through for the sake achieving the American dream. Feb 07, Jennifer Lesnick rated it liked it Shelves: There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

He’s writing about these particular Filipinos, characters with a specific backstory This gets a three out of five, mostly because what Roley did with the narrative structure didn’t work for me. Every character has issues. Open Preview See a Problem? His prose is very masculine, but not graceful: About Brian Ascalon Roley.

AMERICAN SON by Brian Ascalon Roley | Kirkus Reviews

We were the foreign ones with the weird clothes and our mother was very much like Tomas and G Realistic and edgy portrayal. Oct 07, Jhoanna rated it liked it Shelves: Gabe, as the protagonist, is brrian most frustrating of the characters in his sheer listlessness, which is rendered all too well by Roley, almost to the point where I was often turned off by the depiction. I did not enjoy this book.

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