In Muchacho, Louanne Johnson tells the story of Eddie Corazon, a juvenile delinquent. All of Eddie’s classmates are juvenile delinquents, too.
In Muchacho, Louanne Johnson tells the story of Eddie Corazon, a juvenile delinquent. All of Eddie’s classmates are juvenile delinquents, too. No one expects much of the students at Bright Horizons High School, the alternative school in Rosablanca, New Mexico. Most of the students there do not want to go to college, nor do they have the means to get in even if they wanted to attend. In their crime-infested town, it’s more likely they will end up in jail than graduate high school. Eddie is no different than any of his classmates. He’s almost always in some sort of trouble and has not decided if he’s going to graduate yet. Then, he meets Lupe.
Lupe is a smart, beautiful girl who just transferred into Bright Horizons. She knows she is going to graduate high school and she knows she is going to college, most likely to become a doctor. She is also Eddie Corazon’s girlfriend. Just being around Lupe makes Eddie rethink all of his life choices so far and aspire to make better ones in the future. Lupe even turns Eddie into a poet. Actually, his poetic skills come from Ms. Beecher, one of Eddie’s former English teachers. Ms. Beecher inspired Eddie to read and write. She believed in him when no one else did. With Lupe and Ms. Beecher’s help, Eddie is finally turning his life around and may even graduate high school, until more trouble comes around.
When Eddie gets busted for taking his dad’s car and ditching school to help a friend, his dad sends him to live with his uncle in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Now in “T or C,” Eddie must choose to either keep his life going in the right direction or continue down the dangerous path he has been on his whole life.
Muchacho is not for everyone. It has very mature concepts that make the book only appropriate for kids 14 and up. The use of colloquial language such as teenage slang words and some foul language creates a realism that makes the story believable and is an important part of the author’s style. Various Spanish and even Spanglish phrases such as “Mis Primos” and “Ay te watcho” are unique to the setting and again add to the author’s realistic style. The reader feels like a part of Bright Horizons High School. Symbolism is present, and fairly obvious, throughout the novel. For example, the town that Eddie moves to, Truth or Consequences, is symbolic of the choices Eddie is forced to make while living there. Even Eddie’s last name, Corazon, which means “heart” in Spanish is symbolic of the heart Eddie must show in order to rebuild his life.
Overall, Muchacho is a unique coming of age story. Eddie shows that not everyone starts from the same place in life. People make mistakes, but they can also learn from them. Sometimes kids like are Eddie are stereotyped by others and they may even stereotype themselves. The novel shows that in the end it is possible to turn your life around. Starting in a tough place does not mean that you have to end there, too.