The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us

by

Reyna Grande

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Mago is Reyna’s older sister, and a maternal figure who becomes Reyna and Carlos’s “little mother” after their real mother, Juana, leaves for America to join their father Natalio there. Mago is a “hot-blooded Scorpio,” fiery, fearless, and headstrong. She attempts to shield her siblings from pain while simultaneously trying to ensure that they’re prepared for the world and all its unfairness. As the eldest, Mago is forced to shoulder burdens far beyond her years during her and her siblings’ youths in Mexico; once in Los Angeles, though, Mago finds that all of the premature growing-up she’s done does not affect the way her father sees her. Mago feels constrained by her father’s strict rules, and her rebellious streak flares as she gets older. Eventually, unable to handle Papi’s abuse any longer, she moves out of his home and into a friend’s apartment. Though Reyna begs her “little mother” to stay and look after her, Mago can no longer place her own needs last, and as she continues to grow away from her siblings and her father, she exerts more and more of her independence, getting married and pregnant quickly after leaving home and learning to prioritize herself for the first time in her life, while still trying not to sever the delicate bonds between her and her siblings.

Mago Grande Rodriguez Quotes in The Distance Between Us

The The Distance Between Us quotes below are all either spoken by Mago Grande Rodriguez or refer to Mago Grande Rodriguez . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Physical and Emotional Distances Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Washington Square Press edition of The Distance Between Us published in 2012.
Book One: Chapter 2 Quotes

"What did you see?" I asked her. "'Who was that in the alley?"

"It was a man, a man on a horse," Mago whispered. The clop-clopping of the hooves grew fainter and fainter.

"So?" Carlos said.

"But he was dragging something behind him in a sack!"

"You're lying," Carlos said.

"I'm not, I swear I'm not," Mago insisted. "I swear I saw him drag a person away."

"We don’t believe you," Carlos said again. "Right, Reyna?" I nodded, but none of us could fall back to sleep.

"That's the devil making his rounds," Abuela Evila said the next morning when we told her what Mago had seen. "He's looking for all the naughty children to take back to Hell with him. So you three better behave, or the devil is going to take you away."

Mago told us not to believe anything Abuela Evila said. But at night, we huddled together even closer when we heard a horse pass by our window the sound of its hooves sending chills up our spines. Who would protect us if the devil came to steal us and take us far away where we would never see our parents again? I wondered. Every night, I would bury my face in my pillow and hold on tight to my sister.

Related Characters: Reyna Grande Rodriguez (speaker), Mago Grande Rodriguez (speaker), Carlos Grande Rodriguez (speaker), Abuela Evila (speaker)
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

Mago and I sat on the dirt floor, and she told me about the day I was born exactly the way Mami used to tell it. She pointed to the circle of rocks and a pile of ash and told me that during my birth, a fire had been on while Mami had squatted on the ground, over a straw mat, grabbing the rope hanging from the ceiling. When I was born, the midwife put me into my mother's arms. She turned to face the fire so that the heat would keep me warm. As I listened to Mago, I closed my eyes and felt the heat of the flames, and I heard Mami's heart beating against my ear.

Mago pointed to a spot on the dirt floor and reminded me that my umbilical cord was buried there. That way, Mami told the midwife, no matter where life takes her, she won't ever forget where she came from.

But then Mago touched my belly button and added something to the story my mother had never told me. She said that my umbilical cord was like a ribbon that connected me to Mami. She said, "It doesn’t matter that there's a distance between us now. That cord is there forever." I touched my belly button and thought about what my sister had said. I had Papi's photo to keep me connected to him. I had no photo of my mother, but now my sister had given me something to remember her by.

Page Number: 21-22
Explanation and Analysis:

Don Bartolo took my grandmother's coin from his pocket and handed it to me. "Don't ever think that your parents don't love you," he said. "It is because they love you very much that they have left."

As I walked home with the needle for my grandmother, I told myself that maybe Don Bartolo was right. I had to keep on believing my parents left me because they loved me too much and not because they didn't love me enough.

Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
Book One: Chapter 5 Quotes

[Tía María Félix] left in the afternoon with little Javier. She promised Élida that one day soon she would send for her, and although she did eventually keep her promise, Élida had to stay behind for now and watch a taxicab take her mother away. Abuela Evila put her arm around Elida and held her while she cried. Elida buried her face in Abuela Evila's arms. It was so strange to see her crying. The ever-present mocking gaze was gone. The Élida that made fun of us, that laughed at us, that called us Los Huerfanitos, had been replaced by a weeping, lonely, heartbroken girl.

Mago grabbed our hands and took us to the backyard to give Élida privacy. "Los quiero mucho," she said, pulling us close to her. Then I realized how lucky Mago, Carlos, and I were. We at least had each other. Élida was on her own.

Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
Book One: Chapter 7 Quotes

Part of me was desperate to wear those shoes. They were new. They had been sent to us by our parents. They were from El Otro Lado! But then I thought about my parents, and the fact that they didn't even know what size shoe I wore made me want to throw them in the trash.

If they don't even know something as basic as the size of our shoes and clothes, what else don't they know about us? And what don't we know about them?

The question was there, but neither Carlos, Mago, nor I was courageous enough to ponder on it for long. As the oldest, it was clearer to Mago, more than to Carlos and me, that the distance between us and our parents was destroying our relationship more than any of us could have imagined.

Page Number: 56-57
Explanation and Analysis:
Book One: Chapter 10 Quotes

"Do you miss her?" I asked.

Mago glanced at the mountain one more time and then jumped off the track-changer. "Who, Mami? But she's back," she said. “And why were you crying?"

I started crying again. I didn't know why I still felt that familiar emptiness inside when I looked at the Mountain That Has a Headache even though my mother was back.

Carlos came over to us, smiling and pointing toward the house. "Can you believe she's here?" He took a deep breath and said, “Finally, everything is going to go back to how it was before she left."

Mami stood at the door and told us to come inside. As I looked at her in the doorway, beckoning us to come in, I knew why the emptiness and the yearning were still there. Carlos was wrong.

The woman standing there wasn't the same woman who had left.

Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:
Book One: Chapter 11 Quotes

Out of all of us, Mago was the only one who harbored any hope that Papi would not forsake us. My mother's broken promise—that she'd be gone only a year—had caused a rift between them, so Mago's loyalty to my father remained strong. He had been gone for so long that in his absence he had become bigger than life in Mago's eyes. But regardless of how much she had changed, I was too happy to have my mother back to cling to the hope of seeing my father again. And I was angry at him. I didn't have a single memory of him and Mami together—of all of us together—and I felt cheated out of the family I yearned to have. Why did he have to go and fall in love with someone else? I wanted to know. Hadn't Mami always done what he had asked of her? Hadn't it been enough that she had followed him to El Otro Lado and left us behind?

Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
Book One: Chapter 14 Quotes

They hung Catalina by her feet so that the river would drain out of her. We all kneeled and prayed, and not once did I take my eyes off my cousin's bloated body, and I shuddered at seeing her like that, hanging by her feet, like the chickens at the meat section in el mercado, just as cold and lifeless. I was gripped with a fear so great, it made my stomach churn. What if something happened to me, Mago, Carlos, or Betty? What if, by the time Papi finishes his dream house, there’s no one left for him to keep safe? Or what if he never finishes it, what if he never returns, and we are left here to face the wolf all on our own?

Related Symbols: Catalina
Page Number: 110-111
Explanation and Analysis:
Book Two: Chapter 4 Quotes

Papi went back into his room with his beer, and while Mago helped me clean up in the bathroom, Mila made me scrambled eggs, even though I told her I wasn't hungry. Now I would have to eat the eggs because Papi would beat me for sure if I didn't eat Mila's food for the second time that night. As I showered, I cried and thought about my sweet grandmother. She would never have dumped a plate of food on my head. And I wouldn't have had to tell her why I couldn't eat the spaghetti. She would have known why right away. I thought about the Man Behind the Glass. He, too, wouldn't have dumped the spaghetti on my head because he was with me all those years, and he had listened to me tell him about my fears and my dreams. But the father in this house didn't know me. He didn't know me at all.

And I didn't know him.

Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:
Book Two: Chapter 11 Quotes

Papi was amazed. He asked me to play something. Mago rolled her eyes at me and left us alone. I took the sax from him and played the scale Mr. Adams had taught me, except I didn’t remember it that well. But Papi didn't criticize me for messing up. Instead he said, "You know, when I was in third grade, my teacher brought some drums to class and started to teach us how to play them. We couldn't take them home, but still, it was nice coming to school and having the chance to learn to play an instrument. I hoped to join the color guard when I got to sixth grade. But a few weeks later, when I turned nine, your grandfather said I was old enough to join him at the fields, and he pulled me out of school' I never got to play the drum again. And I've been working ever since."

Papi got up and headed to the refrigerator where he took out a Budweiser. Then he went into his room. I sat in the living room to practice my sax, but Mago and Carlos complained about the noise and sent me outside. I went to the yard and continued to practice, and I played with all my heart, for myself and for my papi, who never got another chance to play anything.

Related Symbols: Reyna’s Alto Sax
Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:
Book Two: Chapter 19 Quotes

I didn't know why I was so angry at my sister. How could she just sever the ties that bind us to this place, to these childhood friends of ours who weren’t able to escape this poverty like we did? I was so angry at her for quitting college and ruining her chances for a successful life. Now I realized that we owed it to them, our cousins, our friends, to do something with our lives. If not for us, then for them, because they would never be able to. I understood so clearly now why Papi said there were so many people who would die to have the opportunities we had, who would kill to get their hands on a green card. Mago's and Carlos's refusal to see that angered me more than anything.

Page Number: 282
Explanation and Analysis:
Book Two: Chapter 23 Quotes

Carlos and Mago were furious about what our father had done.

Carlos said, "I spent all that time helping him with the lawyer, defending him from Mila and her restraining orders, for what? So that he could just betray us like this?"

"I'm never speaking to him again," Mago said. "He used us. He just wanted us around because he was lonely and depressed, and now that he has her back he doesn’t need us!" Once again, we were orphans.

I thought about the border that separates the United States and Mexico. I wondered if during their crossing, both my father and mother had lost themselves in that no-man's-land. I wondered if my real parents were still there, caught between two worlds. I imagined them trying to make their way back to us. I truly hoped that one day they would.

Page Number: 315
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Distance Between Us PDF

Mago Grande Rodriguez Character Timeline in The Distance Between Us

The timeline below shows where the character Mago Grande Rodriguez appears in The Distance Between Us. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book One: Prologue
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...Grande was small, her father’s mother, Abuela Evila, liked to scare her and her siblings, Mago and Carlos, with stories of La Llorona—a weeping woman who steals children away. When the... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 1
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Reyna’s Mami ushers Reyna, Mago, and Carlos out of the house they’ve been renting—the children are going to stay with... (full context)
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Mami and the children arrive at Abuela Evila’s large house. Mago and Carlos beg not to have to stay with the “angry” Evila and instead ask... (full context)
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Reyna, Mago, and Carlos beg their mother one last time to stay behind, insisting that they don’t... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 2
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Mago, Carlos, and Reyna endure difficult treatment at their Abuela Evila’s. They are made to sleep... (full context)
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Mago adopts the role of “little mother” to her younger siblings. When walking through the streets,... (full context)
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...the face. Reyna goes home emptyhanded, and when she tells Evila the truth, Evila makes Mago take Reyna back to the shop to apologize. (full context)
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On the way back out, Mago takes Reyna back to their old house instead of to the shop, urging her to... (full context)
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Mago takes Reyna back up to the house, but Reyna is afraid that Evila will beat... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 3
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Mago, Carlos, and Reyna grow jealous and resentful of their cousin Élida, who is their grandmother’s... (full context)
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One day, Élida is lying in the sun and letting her hair dry while, nearby, Mago and Reyna scrub their dirty clothes in the wash basin. She looks over and tells... (full context)
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...her taunts up again, bragging that her own mother writes her letters while Reyna and Mago’s mother writes them none. Mago sweeps a cloud of dust towards Élida, and threatens to... (full context)
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...to pour kerosene on the children’s heads one by one. After combing kerosene through Reyna, Mago, and Carlos’s hair, she sends them off to bed, where they lie awake all night... (full context)
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...at a picture of her father and reminisces about happier times with her parents. When Mago calls her down to dinner, Emperatriz is horrified to see what has become of Reyna,... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 4
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...Reyna and her siblings some news: she is going to have a baby. That night, Mago worries aloud that Mami and Papi are replacing them with a new child. Already, the... (full context)
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The next day, Mago is despondent. She pulls out a world map and shows Reyna the distance between them... (full context)
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...has her sons with her, and dotes on them as she goes about her errands. Mago and Reyna become jealous of the boys, and when Paula suggests all the children play... (full context)
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When the boys run back to their mother smelling of feces, Paula chastises Mago and Reyna, but they have already started running away. They climb up into a tree... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 5
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A month later, on September 7th, Reyna turns five, but because Mago’s birthday is a month and a half later, Reyna is forced to wait weeks and... (full context)
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...parents sent them some things, the suitcase which held them was lost at the airport. Mago accuses her aunt of having given away their presents, and runs away to be alone. (full context)
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...and her siblings are put to work making decorations for the party. Evila reluctantly makes Mago and Reyna new dresses to wear, but does so half-heartedly. Reyna’s dress is made improperly... (full context)
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...mocking gaze” is gone, and it is Élida who is the “weeping, lonely, heartbroken” huerfanita. Mago pulls Reyna and Carlos close and tells them she loves them, and all three take... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 6
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...and shiny new shoes to wear. On her first morning of school, she gathers with Mago and Carlos in the courtyard to salute the flag and watch the color guard perform... (full context)
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At lunchtime, Reyna meets up with Mago and Carlos. They watch as their classmates buy food from women selling enchiladas and taquitos... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 7
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Every afternoon, Mago and Élida stand at the gate, waiting for the mail carrier, hoping that there will... (full context)
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Mago brings the box inside and she, Carlos, and Reyna tear it open. It is filled... (full context)
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Mago, Carlos, and Reyna decide to wear the ill-fitting clothes and shoes anyway, and they set... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 8
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...the workers stop coming—the money has run out, and the house will have to wait. Mago becomes angry, and tells her siblings that the house will never be finished—and neither will... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 9
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...night, Reyna wakes up screaming and in pain—she recognizes the feeling as a scorpion bite. Mago runs to get help, but their grandfather continues dozing. Tía Emperatriz comes into the room... (full context)
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...beside her aunt, Reyna thinks of Mami. Over the next few weeks, Reyna notices that Mago treats Emperatriz much like a mother, and looks at her with love and admiration. When... (full context)
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...give as gifts to their mothers. On the walk home from school, Carlos, Reyna, and Mago compare the crafts they made in each of their classes, and Mago suggests they give... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 10
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One afternoon, Mago, Carlos, and Reyna hurry to carry water home from the town well—Emperatriz has promised to... (full context)
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Reyna, Mago, and Carlos travel by taxi with their mother to Abuelita Chinta’s house, a bamboo shack... (full context)
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Reyna brings Betty outside and sits down with Mago. She begins crying, unsure of why she still feels empty inside when her mother has... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 11
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...children that Papi is “washing his hands of [them]” while he tends his “new woman.” Mago continues harboring hope that Papi will not forsake them—she is still angry at Mami for... (full context)
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...a resort called La Quinta Castrejón, the only place in town “immune to the recession.” Mago, Carlos, and Reyna accompany their mother there most nights, waiting outside in the cold with... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 12
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...all go out to look for him, and soon find him walking towards them. When Mago asks where Carlos was, he replies “nowhere.” Back at the house, he demands to be... (full context)
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...three children out to buy sodas before dinner. On the way home from the store, Mago asks Carlos what’s wrong, and he reluctantly reveals that last night he saw Mami kissing... (full context)
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At dinner, Mago is sullen and silent. When Mami asks her what’s wrong, Mago reveals that they all... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 13
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...vomits often. He loses a good deal of weight and takes on a skeletal appearance. Mago and Reyna are furious with their mother, and believe Carlos’s illness is directly related to... (full context)
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...tales of his day with Crece. From that day on, Carlos and Crece are inseparable. Mago urges Carlos to remember that Crece isn’t his father. Reyna realizes that, in the wake... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 14
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One afternoon in June of 1983, Abuelita Chinta makes hot chocolate for Reyna, Mago, and Carlos before going out in the rain to visit her daughter, Tía Güera, whose... (full context)
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...and saved her. That evening, Abuelita Chinta stays at Gary’s house to pray while Reyna, Mago, and Carlos go home. Reyna cannot sleep, and asks Mago to tell her a story.... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 15
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As the new school year starts, Mago is chosen to be a flag-bearer. There is not enough money, though, to buy the... (full context)
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...so that he and his sisters will have enough to eat. When Carlos suggests that Mago come, too, and take some mangoes to sell at the train station,  Mago and Reyna... (full context)
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...on her, and is frantically trying to make an aloe paste to soothe the burns. Mago, knowing that Betty needs a proper doctor, goes next door and borrows money from Doña... (full context)
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The next day, Mago leaves the house early and returns with news that she has secured a job selling... (full context)
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Abuelita Chinta sends Carlos and Reyna to the train station towards the end of Mago’s shift to collect her and tell her the good news. When they get there, they... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 16
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...Caro’s house, as she has one of the only phones around. Caro tells Abuelita, Reyna, Mago, and Carlos that Mami and her boyfriend have been in a car accident—Mami only has... (full context)
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...the government is giving away parcels of land nearby to anyone who occupies it. Mami, Mago, Carlos, Betty, and Reyna all set off for a meadow on the other side of... (full context)
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...even when he develops a cough from sleeping outside each night. At home, Mami joins Mago and Reyna in drawing pictures of their dream house and hanging them up around the... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 17
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One afternoon, Reyna and Carlos pick Mago up from the train station. Mago marvels at how many people are travelling on trains... (full context)
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At Mago’s sixth-grade graduation ceremony, Mami’s record-store boss acts as Mago’s “godfather” during the ceremony. He and... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 18
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After Mago’s party, Reyna and her siblings’ relationship with Mami improves. Their weekly visits with her become... (full context)
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A few months later, during celebrations in the days leading up to Christmas, Reyna, Mago, and Carlos travel to the wealthy part of town and receive gifts from their far-away... (full context)
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...feels that all their Christmas decorations look pathetic. As they all sit down to dinner, Mago throws a fit, screaming and throwing herself around the house. She kicks and screams as... (full context)
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The next day, Mago writes a sorrowful letter to Papi, using lyrics from a popular song to express how... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 19
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Papi hugs Mago and Carlos and then beckons Reyna to him, too. He hugs her briefly and then... (full context)
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Reyna, Carlos, and Mago spend the night at Evila’s house. In the morning, Papi shaves Carlos’s hair to get... (full context)
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...bite him. Frightened, Mila asks when the two of them are going “home.” At this, Mago is surprised—she points out that the dream house is basically finished, and there’s no need... (full context)
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The next day, Papi sits Reyna, Carlos, and Mago down and announces that though he’s leaving in a few days, he has decided to... (full context)
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...to take her, saying she’ll die of shame if her classmates find out she lied. Mago speaks up and says that she won’t go with Papi unless Reyna goes, too. Carlos... (full context)
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The next day, Mago and Reyna go to tell Mami the news. Though they anticipate having to beg, plead,... (full context)
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As Mago and Reyna arrive back at the record shop, they see their mother smiling and dancing... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 20
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From Chula Vista, right on the other side of the border, Papi, Reyna, Carlos, and Mago pile into a truck that will take them to Los Angeles. The children are simultaneously... (full context)
Book Two: Prologue
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On a day in early September of 2011, Papi’s doctor tells Mago, Reyna, and Carlos that it is time to let their father go. Reyna is reluctant... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 1
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...Reyna is about to start the fifth grade, while Carlos will be in seventh and Mago will be in eighth. They do not speak a word of English, and are worried... (full context)
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At bedtime, Mago, Reyna, and Carlos pull out the sofa bed in the living room where they have... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 2
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...the bathroom, where he throws him violently into the tub. Papi leaves for work, and Mago and Reyna hurry the crying Carlos out of the freezing tub. The three of them... (full context)
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...a full-time father. Mila makes Carlos a ghost costume out of a sheet and allows Mago to wear her old wedding dress from her first marriage. Together, the three hurry out... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 3
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Back at home, Reyna relays the story to Mago, who replies that Reyna got what she deserved for being a “traitor” to their own... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 4
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...evening, Mila makes spaghetti for dinner. Reyna hates spaghetti—it reminds her of the roundworms she, Mago, and Carlos had to get out of their systems when they became infested with the... (full context)
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Papi retreats to his room with his beer, and while Mago helps Reyna clean up in the bathroom, Mila makes Reyna some scrambled eggs to eat.... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 5
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Never having had a TV in Mexico, in El Otro Lado, Reyna, Carlos, and Mago become obsessed with television. One day, near Christmastime, they are watching cartoons when Santa Claus... (full context)
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Two weeks later, none of their presents from “Santa Claus” have arrived, and Mago, Carlos, and Reyna are still nervous about finding something for Papi. They decide to shoplift... (full context)
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...and Mila and Papi present them with theirs. Reyna gets a pair of tennis shoes, Mago gets a pretty dress, and Carlos gets a Tonka truck. The gifts from Santa Claus... (full context)
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...through the mail. He points out an exorbitant bill and asks who the children called. Mago confesses that a few weeks ago, they called Santa—she didn’t know they’d get charged for... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 6
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...is given a pamphlet and a sanitary napkin wrapped in cellophane. That afternoon, Reyna shows Mago the sanitary napkin as soon as Mago gets home from school, and excitedly tells her... (full context)
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The following week, Carlos—not Mago—comes to pick Reyna up from Mrs. Giuliano’s after school. He explains that Mago isn’t feeling... (full context)
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When Papi gets home, he is furious with Mago for missing school. He takes his belt off and gives her a horrible lashing. Carlos... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 8
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Mago has been writing frequent letters to Mami, Betty, and Abuelita Chinta, always enclosing happy photographs... (full context)
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Mago has started getting crushes on boys, but Papi has made his rules very clear: no... (full context)
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Mago decides to go to church one Sunday and pray for Pepe to notice her. She... (full context)
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...Carlos is staring at her on the bus, María nastily asks what he’s looking at. Mago answers for him, retorting that María should feel lucky at all that anyone’s looking at... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 10
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...says that he ran into her downtown—she lives there, on a street called San Pedro. Mago asks if Betty is here, too, and Papi drains his beer before replying that Mami... (full context)
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...in his room after railing against Mami for using Betty to get back at him. Mago is on Papi’s side—she doesn’t see why they should go see Mami after all the... (full context)
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Mago writes to Abuelita Chinta to ask about Betty, and a month later, Tía Güera writes... (full context)
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...factory. Still, Mami says, the poverty here cannot compare to the poverty back in Mexico. Mago asks why Mami never contacted them once she arrived in the U.S., and Mami explains... (full context)
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Mago, Reyna, and Carlos slowly get used to their new “double lives.” Papi and Mami refuse... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 11
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Papi constantly tries to impress upon Reyna, Mago, and Carlos how important an education is. He tells them that without one, they won’t... (full context)
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In September of 1987, Mago becomes the first person in the family to go to high school. When Papi takes... (full context)
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...a place even bigger than her elementary school. When her teachers all  recognize her as Mago’s younger sister, she fears she will never escape her sister’s shadow, but when she walks... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 12
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...are puffy and red. He announces that he is never returning to Mexico again. When Mago, Reyna, and Carlos ask him what happened, he says that Abuela Evila is ill and... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 15
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In June of 1990, Mago becomes the first person on either side of her family to earn a high school... (full context)
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...park in the first place, and then cracks a beer and retreats to his bedroom. Mago asks if Papi is going to take Carlos to the hospital, but he refuses. Carlos... (full context)
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In the morning, Papi still refuses to take Carlos to the hospital. Reyna and Mago beg Mila to take him, but she won’t defy Papi, either. Mago goes off to... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 16
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After Carlos’s accident, things change between Mago and Papi. Where Mago once brought home her checks at the end of the week... (full context)
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One afternoon, walking down the street, Mago and Reyna pass by a dress boutique and see a mannequin in the window wearing... (full context)
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Mago hires a dressmaker to make Reyna’s dress, and soon the day of the event arrives.... (full context)
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...beer. Reyna is filled with regret, wishing she had chosen to dance the waltz with Mago, who made the entire evening a reality.  (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 17
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When the day of the Rose Parade arrives, Mago is the only member of Reyna’s family who attends her performance. In the weeks after... (full context)
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The day of the prom, Mago takes Reyna out dancing to distract her. They drive across town in Mago’s new car,... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 18
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...Carlos. Carlos is elated, and the two of them immediately head out for a drive. Mago dismisses the car as a piece of junk, but Reyna secretly hopes that when she... (full context)
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Mago and Reyna, too, try to talk Carlos out of the marriage, but he won’t listen... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 19
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In 1993, during Reyna’s senior year of high school, Mago decides to go with Mami on a trip to Mexico. As a legal resident of... (full context)
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The real reason Mago wants to go to Mexico is to visit Acapulco with one of her work friends.... (full context)
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A few weeks later, Reyna joins Mago, Mami, Leonardo, and Betty on their trip. Papi is furious that she is missing a... (full context)
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When Reyna returns to Abuelita Chinta’s house from visiting her friends, Mago is cross with her for spending her time with “trash.” Reyna, furious, reminds Mago that... (full context)
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...into the house, she realizes that while she herself still speaks English with an accent, Mago no longer does—she has done everything she can to erase all her ties to Mexico.... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 20
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A couple weeks after returning from Mexico, Mago tells Reyna that she’s planning on looking for an apartment with her friend. Reyna gets... (full context)
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...she tells Steve that she might be transferring schools soon anyway—even if moving in with Mago means transferring midway through her senior year, she knows she would follow her sister to... (full context)
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A week later, Mago tells Reyna that she and her friend have found an apartment—but won’t be able to... (full context)
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When Mago tells Papi that she’s planning on moving out, he threatens her with the proclamation that... (full context)
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Every day, Reyna comes home from school, praying that Mago hasn’t already left. Mago comes home every evening, though, and though she and Papi don’t... (full context)
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Two days after the celebration dinner, however, Reyna comes home to an empty bedroom—Mago has left without telling anybody, even Reyna. Reyna starts her chores, crying, and when Papi... (full context)
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...Because she’s underage, there is nothing she can do. Over the summer, both Carlos and Mago announce that they are soon going to have children. Mago calls Reyna and tells her... (full context)
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That Sunday, Mago comes to pick Reyna up. Reyna calls through her father’s bedroom door that she’s going... (full context)
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Reyna asks Mila why Mago didn’t come to help her. Papi insists that Mago doesn’t care about Reyna and stomps... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 21
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In the aftermath of Mago’s departure, Reyna’s bedroom becomes both her prison and her haven. In order to avoid her... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 23
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...He begs Reyna to move back in and keep an eye on Papi—neither Carlos nor Mago, who are busy with their own children, can do it. (full context)
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...and often the two stay up talking long after Reyna has gone to bed. Slowly, Mago begins reconciling with Papi as well, and even Betty starts coming over to the apartment... (full context)
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...court hearing to resolve his legal troubles with Mila. When an argument erupts between Mila, Mago, and Carlos, Mila calls the children “leeches” and says they’d still be “wetbacks” if it... (full context)
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...is coming back home—but there is a condition to her return. She doesn’t want Reyna, Mago, or Carlos around. Reyna is sickened to learn that her father has agreed to this... (full context)
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...for the last few days before her trip up to UC Santa Cruz. Carlos and Mago are furious, and proclaim that they will never speak to their father again. Reyna is... (full context)
Book Two: Epilogue
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...The day before her thirty-sixth birthday, she stands over his hospital bed with Carlos and Mago as his life-support machines are turned off. She holds her father’s hand, and finds herself... (full context)