"The House of Order
is an enticing read that shouldn't be overlooked for those looking for a down to earth short fiction collection."--Midwest Book Review
"Jaramillo is writing about working in Southern Colorado farm fields, driving and drinking beer and smoking pot; visiting family members in the state penitentiary; about tattooed pregnant girls, dirty kids in laundromats and their desperate mothers-and the pain-filled list goes on, back through several decades. What saves these stories is the grace in which they are written."-Mary Jean Porter, Chieftain.com
"Each story in Jaramillo's collection stands alone, but together they make a powerful combination, with vivid descriptions, realistic characters, and strong emotions that will make readers cry, laugh, cringe and hope." --Latina Book Club
"The book is filled with beautiful moments, like shards of broken stained-glass window lying in the dirt. This book will open your eyes to a new way of life and will leave you with haunting images not soon forgotten. A worthy read." -IndieReader
"If you like writing that is unpredictable and makes you think, this collection is for you. These short stories have characters with complex, sometimes depressing, but always fascinating lives." --LatinoStories.com 2013 Top Ten "New" Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)2013 International Latino Book Award Finalist--The Mariposa Award--Best First Book--Fiction"Raw and highly emotional at times, Jaramillo's stories give a realistic look in to the lives of his characters as he presents short vignettes that hint at a deeper family saga. His style is easy to read and his concise wording retains a surprising amount of detail. All in all, The House of Order is a compelling set of stories and should Jaramillo continue to present such fantastic storytelling, there is no doubt he will gain many new readers." --San Francisco Book Review
From the Inside Flap
"Neto told me the residents named the building the Highland, after the street it was built on in downtown Colorado Springs, and that later, in the 70's, some state agency changed it to Pikes Peak Health Horizons. But Neto always referred to it as the House of Order. The place to get your habits straightened out."
One habit Relles "Manito" Ortiz acquires from Tio Neto and his dead father's family is the ability to push down pain and emotion. Abandoned by his mother and living with his Abuelos and Tio Neto, who's currently between wives, Manito does not so much come of age in these sixteen composite short stories as he comes to terms with his family "crash sites," which stretch across at least three states, as far away as Vietnam, and that follow the Ortiz family over fifty years. Some of the stories are Manito's, told in first person. The others he has to pull from his family, usually his Tio Neto:
"I ask, "What did my father think of all this?"
"Well, I say Goddamn. Now I know you're growing, Manito. Now I know you're nearly what a man should be. A man has got to know about his family."
Then he ignores me."
Manito grows up with little family context, unable to sort myth from fact, and abuse from love. He understands that being in a family is not necessarily the same thing as belonging.
Thirty years earlier, Cordelia Ortiz, family matriarch and "Jefita" explained to her small son Ernesto "Neto," that transients are not men to be admired. "No place in the world will keep men like those," the Jefita warned. "They have no place." The Jefita's goal was to build a real home for her husband, sons, and fosters. But Santiago is laconic and unfaithful. He finds release from the constant scramble for money and long hours at the mill by bullying or ignoring his family, by "throwing palo" with neighborhood women in the garage late at night. It's all part of his vision of manhood, a vision that will both attract and repel the next two generations of Ortiz men.
Southern Colorado's Huérfano County infects the area, hangs metaphorically over the Ortiz family as isolation and abandonment. Neto explains to Manito that where they live, "deserted" means many things:
It means losing a ride out to the lanes for work in the onion fields. Quitting school to work and contribute to the mortgage. Ignitions that won't fire and friends who won't come around. . . .Fathers who die.
The Ortiz family stories presented in The House of Order reflect heartbreak and bleakness, but they also mirror strength and resiliency. Manito does not simply recover painful memories from his family; he begins to re-envision them. It is how Manito finds his own way to manhood and a glimpse of life outside of the county of orphans.