Thicker than water: The House of Order by John Paul Jaramillo

I like short stories, especially the ones that don’t really follow a certain formula or end with a sound resolution because these are the ones that can make you think and speculate about the story or the characters. Good short stories leave me dwelling on them long after I’ve read them. Most of the stories in The House of Order are no exception.

The House of Order, the first collection of composite stories by John Paul Jaramillo, presents a stark vision of American childhood and family, set in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. Manito Ortiz sorts family truth from legend as broken as the steel industry and the rusting vehicles that line Spruce Street. The only access to his lost family’s story is his uncle, the unreliable Neto Ortiz.

I have to admit I labored over some of the stories in this collection and it wasn’t because they were crappy stories. It was because I could feel the culture, the situation, and the emotions through the simple, clever and rough words. For some reason, I felt heavy and sad while reading some of the stories because I could imagine the setting and I could feel the descriptions. The stories were about the difficult life, harsh poverty, and about family. My heart bled through this collection. Maybe because I could relate to the poverty–I’ve certainly seen a lot of that around here–or maybe it’s because the Latin culture is somewhat close or similar to the Filipino culture and it was like I could feel the reality of these stories in my blood.

I don’t know if it was my mood while reading this book or whatever, but for me this book was just loaded with feelings and life stories. This collection was jampacked, filled up to here with reality and emotions. How I feel about this book is similar to how I feel about The Band of Brothers. I love it and I hate it. I love it because it’s beautiful and I hate it because it’s heartbreaking. Feelings and life stories, folks. They will getchoo. Oh yes.

Um, not to break my emotional (but positive) rambling about this book, but I just wanted to share that I had quite an interesting time reading this collection because the voice in my head had a curious accent while I was doing so. Really did. More specifically, I read it as if I was Neto. I could feel the character in my bones. It was the writing, the infusion of español words here and there, the sentence structure, the flow. Needless to say, I liked the writing style. I also love the concept that this book is a collection of stories about the same set of characters that are so intertwined with each other. I recommend this to those who want something different, to aspiring writers like me, and to anyone who’s also a sucker for those feelings and life stories. They will getchoo. Bleeding heart and everything.

An ounce of blood is worth more than a pound of friendship. ~Spanish Proverb 

I received a review copy of this book at no cost and with no obligations. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes: Join the Giveaway!

Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of The House of Order? Well, there are two ways to enter…

  1. Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official House of Order tour page.
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I’ve posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the official House of Order tour page–either way works just as well.

About the Author

John Paul Jaramillo grew up in Southern Colorado but now lives, writes and teaches in Springfield, Illinois. He earned his MFA in creative writing (fiction) from Oregon State University and, currently, holds the position of Associate Professor of English in the Arts and Humanities Department of Lincoln Land Community College. Connect with John Paul on his website, Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads.

2 thoughts on “Thicker than water: The House of Order by John Paul Jaramillo”

  1. I know you thought I would obsess over the cool slang word you introduced, “getchoo.” But my favorite part of this review was that you said the character was in your bones. That’s a very flattering thing to say! Don’t forget to cross-post to Amazon and GoodReads, and thank you for being a part of this tour!



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