Small Town Browny

Creando una cosecha de la vida

By Annete Flores
Published on LatinoLA: January 3, 2002

Small Town Browny

Drama, violence, jealousy, superstition, drugs, greed and manipulation bind the pages of "Small Town Browny," by Simon Silva. This is a collection of Silva's truth.

Silva's book is unique because for each story he rendered a picture in his signature style of art. His words paint the colors of his soul as his stories tell the tales of growing up brown (Mexican), impoverished, always feeling different and insignificant.

In stories like "The Punch," you can the feel Silva's resentment towards being raised as a campesino. "I was the youngest of the legal pickers in my family, but I barely met the law's requirement. Even if I hadn't, my fate would have been the same."

This particular story is so important because it gives the account of a twelve-year-old Silva as he discovers the power of manipulation. As entertaining as the story may be, it is a melancholy depiction of what life was like for his family.

Silva describes the "makeshift town" and harsh working conditions of everyday farmworkers. It is clear that his resentment made him destined to be anything other than a farmworker.

Although his stories are ethnic in tone, you don't have to be Chicano to relate. "Ode to a Cholo," is one of the more simple stories Silva shares with his readers. He tells the story of the underachiever in high school.

This story evokes memories of the way elementary school children are friendly and acknowledge each other as teens: the studious, the popular, the jocks, the misunderstood non-achievers have emerged and do not associate.

For many, it is a first lesson in politics. "Like any other young person with a label, he was stereotyped and viewed as a threat not because of his juvenile record, but because of his impressive attire."

It is Silva's upbringing that enabled him to see past the "cholo" and identify the real person. This is a story about the appreciation of being different.

Silva's memoir is made up of the uncomfortable truths that give perspective to his life and search for identity. Simon Silva was first recognized for his vibrant artwork, and now for his colorful stories.

You can pick up a copy of "Small-Town Browny" at:


Cultura Latina, 4125 Norse Way, Long Beach 562.982.1515
Cafe Con Libros, Pomona, Ca
Expresso Mi Cultura, 5625 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, Ca, (323 461-0808
Olverita's Village, W-24 Olvera Street, downtown LA, (213)687-7937
Premier Aztlan, Montebello Town Center, Montebello, CA
Martinez Books & Art, 200 N. Main St., Suite 150, Santa Ana, CA (714) 973-7900

About Annete Flores:
Annette Flores can be reached at annette@barkingbakery.com

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