- Paperback: 311 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books (October 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140159703
- ISBN-13: 978-0140159707
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,266,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Gangster of Love Paperback – October 1, 1997
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Jessica Hagedorn received high praise for her debut novel, Dogeaters, which took place in Manila. Her second book shows that Dogeaters was no fluke. The Gangster of Love opens in Manila but the action quickly moves to San Francisco and then New York before turning full circle. Hagedorn's worlds are peopled with a maelstrom of jostling, exuberant characters. The focal point of this storm of humanity is Raquel (Rocky) Rivera. The arc of her journey from Manila to the United States and back will include a boyfriend named Elvis Chang (with whom she plays in a rock band called Gangsters of Love), a daughter, a flock of drag queens, and jobs as receptionist at an acupuncture clinic and waitress at a French-Vietnamese bistro. Original, exhilarating and electric, The Gangster of Love takes a fresh look at family and questions of race, culture and identity. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Hagedorn's long-awaited but ultimately disappointing second novel (her first, Dogeaters, was a finalist for the National Book Award) is the mostly first-person account of Rocky Rivera, who has emigrated from the Philippines to the United States along with her mother and her emotionally disturbed brother, Voltaire. Rocky has a hippyish adolescence in 1970s San Francisco, then moves to New York City with her boyfriend, Elvis Chang, and her best friend, a photographer named Keiko. Rocky and Elvis form a band, while Keiko enjoys huge (and rather improbable) success as an artist. While Hagedorn's first novel utilized multiple perspectives and collage techniques to great effect, here her occasional shifts in point of view seem motivated mainly by an inability to keep her somewhat meandering novel moving along. Offering little in the way of plot, the book's narcissistic characters and bohemian milieu soon begin to wear thin. Hagedorn does remain a sharp observer of cross-cultural identity as her Filipino characters adjust to life in the U.S.; the novel is at its best when dealing head-on with issues of assimilation. But on the whole, this feels like apprentice work in comparison to what Hagedorn achieved in her debut.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
This novel seems to be a cross between a coming of age story and a cultural identity story. The novel starts/opens in the 1970s and moves from that point forward based on the life of lead character, Raquel (Rocky) Rivera, Raquel's family, her boyfriend Elvis Chang, Rocky's band and her best friend, Keiko. Sex, drugs, rock and roll, along with references to Jimi Hendrix & Imelda Marcos, as well as the Filipino-American experience are all touched upon in this novel.
Hagedorn succeeds where Auster and De Lillo fail in capturing polychromatic angles of 1970's 80's America, as well as the chaotic and multi-dimensional experience of family, divorce, Filipina/Asian American identity and immigration from a country already heavily infused with American influence.
The layers of irony in the first page of this novel is a testimony to the story that follows.
Rocky is a young woman who enjoys writing poetry and songs. She meets her boyfriend, Elvis, who is starting a band. Rocky and Elvis are introduced together by her brother and they become very close in their relationship. Rocky is in a point in her life where she wants to "find herself." By finding herself, Rocky sets out on a road trip with her boyfriend, and two other band mates, to New York to find a record deal there. She is overcome with some obstacles like leaving her mother to move to New York, not spending time with her brother, making decisions about life, sex, and drugs.
I enjoyed this book because it had some humorous parts. The author didn't want their readers to be bored so she included some jokes to lighten up the story. Most of the book was humorous to me because many of her jokes were Filipino-related and I could relate to them. I don't think people who don't understand the Filipino culture very well will understand many of the jokes, but others non-Filipinos will find some of her jokes amusing.
I would recommend this book to those who are interested in reading about an immigrant coming to the United States from a foreign country, and witnessing the struggles of a young person who is traveling over the country to find what she is and who she wants to be. I would especially recommend this book to Filipino Americans who are interested about their culture and family life in the United States because when I was reading this book, I could relate to a lot of things that Rocky was talking about. I don't recommend this book to those who like books that go by really quickly because this is a book that takes a long time; it goes by pretty slow. Otherwise, I'd recommend this book to others who want to read about a woman struggling toward her decisions in life.
Most recent customer reviews
interesting and confusing.Read more