The Book of Unknown Americans

by

Cristina Henríquez

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A local bully who views Mayor Toro as his “special project.” Garrett skateboards around town between Redwood Apartments and his own community, Capitol Oaks, looking for trouble and harassing Mayor and eventually Maribel. When Alma sees Garrett harassing Maribel—he has her pushed up against the wall, and her shirt is up over her bra—she tells no one of the incident and instead tracks Garrett down herself to warn him to stay away. Alma’s secrecy about her encounters with Garrett ultimately leads to devastating consequences when a misunderstanding results in Arturo confronting the Miller family—who have a dangerous reputation in town—and being shot dead. Garrett is a bully, but he is also the recipient of unfair treatment at the hands of his volatile family.
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Garrett Miller Character Timeline in The Book of Unknown Americans

The timeline below shows where the character Garrett Miller appears in The Book of Unknown Americans. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Mayor
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Garrett Miller, a bully with a neck tattoo, has made Mayor his “special project.” He calls... (full context)
Chapter 4: Alma
The Unknown and The American Dream Theme Icon
...steps out onto the walkway, she hears a skateboard in the parking lot below—it is Garrett Miller, the boy with the neck tattoo. Alma is full of fear, but she tells... (full context)
Chapter 8: Mayor
Longing Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
One afternoon, Garrett taunts Mayor as Mayor walks home from school. Mayor considers that Garrett must be lonely—he... (full context)
Chapter 13: Alma
Longing Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Futility, Chance, and Loss Theme Icon
...turns a corner and sees Maribel pushed up against the wall, her hands over her head—Garrett Miller is holding her wrists in place, and Maribel’s shirt is hiked up over her... (full context)
Chapter 14: Mayor
Longing Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Mayor has not had a run-in with Garrett since he stood up to him in front of Maribel, though he has seen Garrett... (full context)
Chapter 16: Alma
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Alma has not told anyone about the incident with Garrett, but she is hardly able to think of anything else—she is “suffocating under the weight”... (full context)
The Unknown and The American Dream Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Futility, Chance, and Loss Theme Icon
...she is interested in. Since there is no crime, and since Alma did not witness Garrett lifting Maribel’s shirt or otherwise assaulting her, there is nothing the officer can—or will—do. Alma... (full context)
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Futility, Chance, and Loss Theme Icon
...the English words for “leave” and “alone,” and practices the phrase as the bus nears Garrett’s neighborhood. When the bus drops her off, Alma wanders the neighborhood for upwards of ten... (full context)
Chapter 19: Alma
Longing Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Futility, Chance, and Loss Theme Icon
...shoes. There is a large crowd at the marsh, and Alma briefly thinks she sees Garrett—in the confusion, she loses sight of Maribel and becomes distressed. Arturo notices, and again asks... (full context)
Chapter 25: Alma
Longing Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Alma becomes afraid that Garrett has somehow taken Maribel, and she makes “an anguished sound.” Celia implores her to calm... (full context)
Longing Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Futility, Chance, and Loss Theme Icon
...and Alma confesses that she has been hiding something from him—she tells him all about Garrett. Arturo is hurt that Alma lied to him, but Alma insists she was just trying... (full context)
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Futility, Chance, and Loss Theme Icon
...him where he is going, and Arturo tells her he is going to track down Garrett Miller. He tells Alma to stay put in case Maribel comes home and he promises... (full context)
Chapter 26: Mayor
Longing Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
...put the car in gear, but out of nowhere, Maribel starts to tell him about Garrett and the time he pushed her up against the wall of the apartment building. Mayor... (full context)
The Unknown and The American Dream Theme Icon
Longing Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Futility, Chance, and Loss Theme Icon
...heard and eventually the story comes out. When Arturo went to Capitol Oaks to find Garrett, there was a confrontation and a man fired at him with a shotgun. Mayor cannot... (full context)
Chapter 27: Alma
The Unknown and The American Dream Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Futility, Chance, and Loss Theme Icon
...The same officer who had told Alma that there was nothing he could do about Garrett Miller had come to the apartment right after Arturo left to look for Maribel, and... (full context)
Longing Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Futility, Chance, and Loss Theme Icon
Alma thinks that if she could, she would kill Garrett and his father herself. As the sun rises, Alma looks back toward the mattress, hoping... (full context)
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Futility, Chance, and Loss Theme Icon
...the country, Alma wonders if things would be different if she had told Arturo about Garrett earlier. She remembers one of the last things he ever said to her: “Forgive yourself.”... (full context)