3 out of 4 stars
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Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive by Dan "Tito" Davis with Peter Conti is the true story of Dan “Tito” Davis when he is on the run as a fugitive. Dan’s life starts out pretty mellow, considering that he grew up in a small town. However, when he gets out and heads out to college his decisions send him down a steep hill of conflict. The consequences of his choices snowball to the point that he has no choice but to run. How will gringo estúpido survive on the run?
I enjoyed how each of the settings and characters was written. It really showed just how the native people acted differently in each of the countries Tito went to live in while on the run. Julio was probably my favorite of his friends; he seemed like he was a genuinely nice guy, despite his work situation. For him to work so diligently on getting things together, just shows that he is a supportive person that anyone can count on.
What I didn’t like was the stories about Blackie and how things came about. It felt like there was way too much dedication to Blackie’s character since he was mentioned much before the last part of the book. While I understand that establishing Tito’s background was important, it made things slow. Only doing about three or four chapters about his childhood and then heading to Latin America would have been better in my opinion.
This book contained a lot of errors. Some examples include misspelled words, missing hyphens, and combining two words together incorrectly i.e. twentyfive or ninetyeight-pound. There was also the tendency to repeat words and to start chapters out like I N, which at times was a bit jarring because there was a full line of space in between the letters. Having the letters like I N or T HE could have a stylized way of writing, but it looks messy.
Since this book takes place primarily in Latin America, there were times that Tito would use Spanish with the locals. I appreciate the use of a glossary with translations at the back since I only know the basics of the language from taking classes in high school and college. The use of Spanish in his travels made things so much more authentic. However, there were a couple of traditions in the smaller villages that had me confused from how bizarre they are.
Before I can give my rating, there are a few things that I must address. This book contains strong language in both English and Spanish, violence, drug use, illegal obtaining of papers, sex, bestiality, and running from the law. If these type of things bother you, then this isn’t for you. However, if you are interested in reading about Latin American cultures, then give this book a chance.
Now in considering my rating for Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive, I give this book 3 out of 4 stars. It has far too many errors to give it a perfect score. This is not your typical slice of life book, its almost too over the top to be true, but then I saw a picture of the protagonist at the back and it confirmed that it was true. I wonder just how much of this book is true and how much has been embellished or fictionalized? Whatever the case, I liked this and recommend this to anyone looking for a good fugitive story.
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