An autobiographical journey of a Mexican-American schoolboy into WASP ivory-towered success. An engaging personal story with heartfelt narrative of his love for his family, separated emotionally by culture and education. The book was used as a trope for social conservatives arguing against affirmative action and I suppose it can't be read without that entire debate arising, but I think it speaks more directly as a personal story -- a love story for family and dedication to personal dreams.
Written with the elegant style that he is noted for, this book still has value and is part of the reading list in some college courses. Dr. Rodgriguez, one of the best and brightest, came out against affirmative action and against bilingual education at the start of the Reagan administration. Thus, he was considered a traitor by many Latino activists and educators.
While not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Dr. Rodriguez is not part of the immigration wave that has come since the Immigration Act of 1965. He must have been like my classmate who joined our 8th grade history class at the end of the DDE administration and worked his dictionary until he earned an A. Dr. Rodriguez's story hearkens back to another time when a kid could earn a few bucks delivering newspapers and a twenty-something college grad could pick up a variety of writing assignments from various publications.
My copy of the book has the sales receipt in it ($4.50) from the 1980s and was AF until the cover fell off, as it is so brittle. The student who bought it apparently only read a few chapters.