“You don’t know what it’s like to grow up with a mother who never said a positive thing in her life . . . For a long time I let her say what she wanted about me, and what was worse, for a long time I believed her.”
“You really want to know what being an X-Man feels like? Just be a smart bookish boy of color in a contemporary U.S. ghetto. Mamma mia! Like having bat wings or a pair of tentacles growing out of your chest.”
“Rutgers was just girls everywhere, and there was Oscar, keeping me up at night talking about the Green Lantern. Wondering aloud, If we were orcs, wouldn’t we, at a racial level, imagine ourselves to look like elves?”
″[Oscar] [h]ad none of the Higher Powers of your typical Dominican male, couldn’t have pulled a girl if his life depended on it. [..] Had no knack for music or business or dance, no hustle, no rap, no G. And most damning of all: no looks.”
“In September he headed to Rutgers New Brunswick, his mother gave him a hundred dollars and his first kiss in five years, his tío [uncle] a box of condoms: Use them all, he said, and then added: On girls. ”
“The white kids looked at his black skin and his afro and treated him with inhuman cheeriness. The kids of color, upon hearing him speak and seeing him move his body, shook their heads. You’re not Dominican.”
“She was that kind of mother: who makes you doubt yourself, who would wipe you out if you let her. But I’m not going to pretend either. For a long time I let her say what she wanted about me, and what was worse, for a long time I believed her.
“Let me tell you, True Believers: in the annals of Dominican piety there has never been prayer like this. The rosaries cabling through La Inca’s fingers like line flying through a doomed fisherman’s hands. And before you could say Holy! Holy! Holy! she was joined by a flock of women, young and old [...].”
“A book about the Dark Powers of the President, a book in which Abelard argued that the tales the common people told about the president—that he was supernatural, that he was not human—may in some ways have been true. That it was possible that Trujillo was, if not in fact, then in principle, a creature from another world!”
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