Books by Art Rodriguez

"Coming of age in Latino life, Art Rodriguez's true tales give readers an inspirational life"


Art Rodriguez


Those Oldies but Goodies

Lessons Learned from Youthful Memories

Young Adult

Dream House Press
254 Pages
ISBN 0967155541, paperback $13.95
May 1, 2005

Looking back on life many people remember the turbulent times-unstable parents, drinking, drugs, going to prison or failed relationships - but few will have the chance to retell their stories to the world. Art Rodriguez shares the hardships of his life, and the lessons he has learned in his latest book "Those Oldies but Goodies".

Rodriguez retells stories of his young adult years, after returning from three years with the California Youth Authority where he was incarcerated for an assault. He comes back to his life in San Jose a changed man. Just 19-years-old, he is determined to stay out of trouble and find a job. Things aren't as easy as he hopes though, and he hangs around with his old pals, drinking and getting into fights.

Rodriguez often coaches himself to try to stay level-headed and behave himself. He writes, "I felt the urge to fight. I loved to fight, but thought, I better cool it right now. I'm out to have fun. I don't want to mess things up right away for myself".

The author also relates deeply moving stories about his childhood and growing up with his harsh father. His tales of love are romantic and touching, and his self-sacrificing growth into parenthood is revealing.

Rodriguez's book reflects on his self-discovery during this short portion of his life. The author of three other books, including East Side Dreams, Rodriguez knows how to share the stories of his past and his deepest feelings. He inspires young adults, showing that even through the most difficult circumstances - prison, alcohol, divorce - they can pull themselves through and live on.

While his book is full of inspiring stories, tales of close calls and small adventures, Rodriguez's book can be a little choppy to read. His use of conjunctions is repetitive, but he still gets his point across. Mostly, his stories are from the heart, so they are easy to relate to, and connect the reader to his life.

Those Oldies but Goodies is a great reflection of the good memories of past times. Rodriguez brings hope to hopeless moments and strength to his weaknesses. His life may have been full of rough spots, but in the end, he finds that there is sweetness left, even for those who make mistakes.

Christina Claassen

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Kirkus Discoveries

Those Oldies but Goodies
Author Art Rodriguez

Review Date: June 09, 2005
Publisher: Dream House Press (259 pp.)
Price (paperback): $13.95
ISBN 0-967-1555-4-1
Category: AUTHORS
Classification: NONFICTION

An up-by-his-bootstraps San Jose businessman reflects on his rough-and-tumble California life in the '60's.

Rodriguez is one tough old bird. He has cranked out a series of books (East Side Dreams, 1999; Forgotten Memories, 2002) after teaching himself to read and write and to work with proper grammar. Sure, his tales of hot-blooded youth has some rough edges and splinters, but he has placed profanity and sex outside the scope of his work, so even youngsters are welcome. Indeed, high-schoolers struggling with reading might find Rodriguez far more engaging than some of the remedial material on the school's shelves. And those who lived through those roller-coaster years will enjoy the sobering journey back to the era when fights were "rumbles," few people played with guns (fists were the primary weapons), drugs were an exotic Asian novelty, beer was the most popular intoxicant and gasoline cost 24 cents per gallon. It's not literature, but Rodriguez writing is accessible and painstakingly crafted, and he has the committed storyteller's knack for details-including a lively description of the layout of a drive-in movie theater. Moreover, it's apparent that success hasn't changed him-he remains true to his roots throughout, and presents an admirable tale of genuine Horatio Alger Americana.

A toast to Art, who survived serious scrapes with the law, as well as women in tight jeans and pouffed hair, and lived to entertain us with his tales.

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VOYA October 2005
Those Oldies but Goodies

The sequel to Forgotten Memories (Dream House Press, 2002/VOYA October 2002) by this San Jose native focuses on the author's young adult years. It begins with his release from the California Youth Authority, where he served three years, and continues through his unhappy first marriage, the birth of two sons, divorce, and remarriage. Although his discussions of youthful drinking and drug use might meet with disproval from some readers, others will appreciate the lack of moralistic tone. Dysfunctional parents and family are part of the background of this book. Rodriguez mentions his dyslexia but does not elaborate on the related problems. A strength of this memoir is the author's brutally honest account of trying to find meaning in life, his first marriage, and its breakup. He emotional devastation; efforts to work, support, and care for his two small children; and the subsequent meeting of his true love are painful to read but ultimately hopeful. The book ends with Rodriguez's retracing of the steps leading to the establishment of a successful business in his hometown.

-Serry York.

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Midwest Book Review

The Biography Shelf

Those Oldies But Goodies
Art Rodriguez
Dream House Press
PO Box 13211, Coyote, CA 95013
0967155541 $13.95

Award-winning Latino author Art Rodriguez presents the true story of his adolescence and adulthood in Those Oldies But Goodies. From his obstacles growing up, to the ups and downs of his love life and the difficulties of maintaining a marriage, raising children and facing down the pressures (and temptations!) of organized crime and more. Told with complete honesty, and no attempts to whitewash the author's choices and justifications, good or bad, Those Oldies But Goodies resonates with the tantalizing allure that only real life's rocky road can bring.

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