Bodega Dreams – Important Quotes

Ernesto Quinonez

Bodega Dreams

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Bodega Dreams – Important Quotes

  1. “I loved Sapo. I loved Sapo because he loved himself. And I wanted to be able to do that, to rely on myself for my own happiness.”(Book I, Round 1, p. 3)

In the opening lines of the book, the narrator (Chino) explains what he admires about his friend Enrique (Sapo) when they meet in junior high. Sapo means “toad,” a nickname he acquired from his fleshy lips, but Sapo has an innate self-confidence that carries him through every situation.

  1. “To have a name other than the one your parents had given you meant you had status in school, had status on your block.” (Book I, Round 1, p. 4)

As a junior high student in a tough neighborhood, Julio wants acceptance more than anything else. A new name would give him that status, the way “Sapo” did for Enrique. In order to get a nickname, Julio has to draw attention to himself, which he does by fighting. Eventually, this earns him the nickname Chino. 

  1. “It was easy to be big and bad when you hated your life and felt meaningless. You lived in projects with pissed-up elevators, junkies on the stairs, posters of the rapist of the month, and whores you never knew were whores until you saw men go in and out of their apartments like through revolving doors. You lived in a place where vacant lots grew like wild grass does in Kansas. Kansas? What does a kid from Spanish Harlem know about Kansas?” (Book I, Round 1, p. 5)

Chino describes the defeated feeling that he had as a teenager, when he was beginning to understand his own place in a world that wouldn’t acknowledge him beyond the boundaries of his own brutal neighborhood.

  1. “He was street nobility incarnated in someone who still believed in dreams… triggered by a romantic ideal found only in those poor bastards who really wanted to be poets but got drafted and sent to the front lines.” (Book I, Round 2, pg. 14) 

Chino makes this observation about Bodega, whose plans for a better Spanish Harlem seem inherently doomed. Bodega’s dreams and sensitivity make…

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