Friday, October 21, 2016

Take This Man by Brando Skyhorse

Brando Skyhorse has written an account of his life in Take This Man.  Given his name, you’d probably assume that he is Native American.  Most people do.  The author himself believed this to be true until he was about 13 years old.  Brando is actually 100% Mexican American, and this story is the result of his desire to find out just exactly who he is and where he came from.

Brando was born and raised in L.A.; living in a modest house with his mother, grandmother, and step-grandfather.  From very early on, he was told by his mother (Maria) that his father was a Native American named Paul Skyhorse, who was serving time in a state penitentiary for armed robbery.  For whatever reason, Maria created a story that she was also Native American, and filled Brando’s childhood with stories of his ancestors’ political activism and bravery.  Maybe she just wanted to make her mundane life a bit more exotic, or maybe she was trying to bury her own past hurt by claiming a new identity.  Unfortunately, Maria also had a few other bad habits:  neglecting her son, drinking too much, and collecting husbands.  Brando spent his childhood seeking a father figure in each and every man that his mother brought home; good or bad.  He eventually discovered his true identity and reconnected with his birth father, and began the process of embracing his Mexican heritage, while not completely letting go of his adopted Native American one.

Take This Man will probably make you angry at times, or profoundly sad; however, the author does a good job of injecting humor into his situation which keeps the story from becoming too tragic.  It is extremely gratifying to see him rise above his circumstances and to grow into the confident and intelligent man that he is today.  You may also enjoy reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner.

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