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Sometimes We're Always Real Same-Same by [Roesch, Mattox]
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Sometimes We're Always Real Same-Same Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Roesch's offbeat debut is set in Unalakleet, Alaska, population 700, a destination that seems like the end of the world for teenage L.A. gang member Cesar Stone, uprooted by his mother after his older brother catches a murder conviction and a life sentence. Navigating without his brother or father, Cesar dwells on regrets while attempting to find himself in the refuge of his mom's native Alaska. Aggrieved at leaving L.A., but also relieved to be free from the gang's demands, Cesar bonds with his older cousin Go-boy, a Native with an optimistic outlook that belies personal tragedies. Go-boy bets a homemade tattoo of Eskimo Jesus that Cesar will stay in Alaska for a year, where he believes Cesar truly belongs. After becoming accustomed to Go-Boy's peculiar dependability, Cesar begins to see troubling changes in his cousin; as he charts Go-boy's drift, he begins to see himself changing as well. Roesch's compelling story, exotic setting and eccentric characters make this coming-of-age tale a fresh, welcome read. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Thoughtful…[Roesch] delivers.”—The New York Times Book Review

"Refreshingly honest ... masterful... Roesch draws the reader closer and closer to his tightly knit characters and the community that binds them. A totally engaging first novel...and completely unique."—Booklist

"What makes this book good is its subtle rendering of village life as a web of relationships that sustain individual and community in a harsh environment. Yet because the characters are so well imagined, it does so without becoming a sociological diorama . . . “Same-Same" is a quirky and endearing first novel." —The Star Tribune

"The deep and universal desire for connectedness is explored here in stunningly original ways that speak to us all. An exciting debut by one of America’s finest young writers.”
—Robert Olen Butler

“To his credit, Roesch deftly avoids clichés such as “walks in two worlds” or passages about Cesar “reclaiming” his heritage…. [and] gives us a version of rural Alaska that we can smell, feel, hear and see. It’s fresh….captivat[ing].”—Anchorage Press

"A smashing debut…full of beauty, wisdom, and grace."—Sigrid Nunez
“Sometimes We’re Always Real Same-Same” is the coming-of-age story of a young transplant to the village and explores the painful transition from adolescence to adulthood, the differences between religious and spiritual truths, and the nature of mental illness. It also takes up that age-old question of whether or not the people who we think are crazy might be the sanest among us. It’s an ambitious project, and Roesch handles it ably….This is a tightly written, well thought out book...memorable.”—Fairbanks Daily Miner


“Teens will enjoy the likeable Cesar’s informal laid-back voice and dialogue.”—Pennsylvania School Library Association

Product Details

  • File Size: 631 KB
  • Print Length: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Unbridled Books; First Printing edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Publication Date: September 1, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0060LTMF2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,082,823 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Baker on February 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
N.B. Really 4 1/2 stars

I'll admit it - the only reason I wanted to read this book was because the title sounded cool, and I liked the author's name, Mattox. But make no mistake, this book was powerful. It's also not about what you think it's about; the story is not the story you expect it to be.

It starts off when Cesar, an L.A. gang member, moves to small town Unalakleet, Alaska with his mom, a native Eskimo, when his brother is sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. When he arrives, he befriends his cousin, Go-Boy, and their relationship, along with Unalakleet, or rather, Unk, changes his life. One might even say it saves his life. And maybe it saves Go's life, too.

Go-Boy and Cesar are such well-developed, emotionally real characters that I wouldn't be surprised if I ran into them if I ever find myself in Unalakleet. The idea that the descriptions and reactions and emotions of these two people without them actually existing is just baffling to me. Even the lesser characters, some of whom we only saw once or twice, were so real, as were their struggles. I've read that some find these characters flat and undeveloped, but I disagree. I just found them REAL.

I think when it boils down to it, Sometimes We're Always Real Same-Same is the story of the importance of being loved, of feeling needed, of feeling connected to other people. It is also the story of hope. Roesch gets the feeling of living in a small, disconnected town down to a T, and each of the characters represents some different aspect of what it must be like. Go-Boy with his craziness and his idealism, Cesar's mom with her desire to be Native, Cesar with his desire to fit in, Kiana with her NEED to get out,. . .
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Format: Paperback
Transplanted from LA to Alaska is a heck of a shift. "Sometimes We're Always Real Same-Same" is the story of young Cesar, a young man who has embraced urban culture when his mother moves them to Alaska in a small village where she grew up. A fish out of water, Cesar has to make his way in life and into adulthood in a place that's totally alien to him. "Sometimes We're Always Real Same-Same" is a charming and unique coming of age tale, well composed and a worthwhile read.
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Format: Paperback
This book attracted me mostly due to its name-- somehow, the book description didn't give me an idea of what to expect.

(I much prefer the description on <a href="[...]to the one that is here and on Amazon).

Same-same is as quirky as the name would lead you to expect- quirky without being either cute or light. The focus was on character-- mostly that of Cesar.

Cesar was on a bad path in LA, one likely to end like that of his brother, who is in jail because of his role in a gang shooting. Cesar has already found himself involved in one truly terrible crime.

Moving to Alaska with his mother gives him a new start, just not the one he's looking for. He's got a plan to move back to LA and move in with his dad. Unfortunately, his father is most notable in this story for his absence.

Luckily for all involved, Cesar meets up with his local cousin, Go-boy. The reader as well as the characters in the book wonder whether Go-boy is crazy. Certainly, the letters he writes to Yoko Ono are crazy. The signs he puts up around town are pretty crazy. On the other hand, there seems to be a method to his madness.

My favorite character was Kiana, Cesar's girlfriend and Go-boy's cousin. She's a teenage math genius who doesn't always make good personal choices. I'd love to know what happens to her down the road.

The books looks at issues of character and of responsibility, questions of how one decision (or non-decision) can change a life. It's thought provoking while being funny and readable.
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Format: Paperback
I found this marvelous novel at Goodwill, a copy signed by the author on a book tour-but you should buy this book for real because it is entirely worth it! Full of compassion and revelations and (to me) compelling because it is told the way that life is experienced-sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, sometimes only in retrospect. Thankfully it did not resemble a bunch of stories stitched together for publication as a novel...though that may be its origin. It reminded me of some great novels from the 80s, Robert Sqnchez, Mona Simpson, Craig Lesley- very Western, but in a juicy and not a dry (Annie Proulx) way. Also, I felt the urge to learn to play the drums, any drums, even old dusty drums.
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