A Fabricated Mexican

A Fabricated Mexican

A Fabricated Mexican

A Fabricated Mexican


Rick Rivera's first novel charts the at times hilarious, at times bitter-sweet saga of growing up in two cultures with the American Dream as a guiding light. In a series of poignant vignettes, the reader follows Ricky Coronado's search for identity, a search made more difficult by the specter of his father's suicide and the pressures placed upon him by his strong-willed mother. The narrator is a quiet, although mischievous boy who reports on the antics of his close-knit and often eccentric family. The amusing misadventures of the clan include his stepfather's proposal to his mother, visits to the psychiatrist and the comic misconstruction of the Catholic catechism by well-meaning nuns. In his journey of self-discovery that hearkens to the pioneer work of Oscar Zeta Acosta's Brown Buffalo adventures, Ricky comes to the realization that generations of hyphenated Americans have reached: the painful but rewarding creation of a new self that combines elements of both ethnic realities.


According to my mother, I was conceived in a plum orchard. How I know this bit of husbandry is due to my mother’s attempt to explain to me the gap in years between myself and the rest of my many brothers and sisters.

“Well, your daddy was drunk one night, and he want to make love,” she explained to me in her rendition of English. “I didn’t want to, but you know how you mens are. When they want something, it’s their doing.” She continued, “We was living on Martino’s farm in San Jose, in them little shacks your daddy help build. You know, there was only one room and there was eight of us before you was born, so we had to go to the fields when we want to be alone.”

“Yes,” I said, “I remember Martino’s, I think. There were three rooms connected, and we were on one end. You could look through the cracks in the walls and see the family next door. and wasn’t there a little stove, and a bed, and a television with aluminum-foil rabbit ears?” I reached back through the furrows of my mind, trying to remember my earliest childhood events and surroundings.

“That’s right,” she answered. She looked at me with skepticism, wondering if I actually remembered what I was recounting, or if I was repeating something I had heard one of my older siblings say.

“And didn’t Mónica and I sleep in the bed with you and dad? and everybody else slept on the floor?”

My mother looked at me with suspicion, and her face became ripe with embarrassment. “Yes, we was very poor then. Everybody had to work.”

“And didn’t I used to go with you to pick plums because that was how you baby-sat me?”

“Yes,” she said, “And do you remember your plum bucket?”

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