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Gringo by Frank Kyle

Gringo

by Frank Kyle

1110 pages
High school teacher awaits trial for shooting an illegal alien.

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Category: Fiction:Literary
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About the Book
Gringo is Jeffrey Thomas’ memoir, which he wrote in jail while awaiting trial for shooting and killing a Mexican illegal immigrant. Before the shooting Mr. Thomas had been a high school English teacher. And it would be one of his former students, Robert Nikolvich, who would inspire Mr. Thomas to write the memoir. Robert says that he was baffled when he read about the shooting because in class Mr. Thomas was known to his students as being bookish, funny, and easygoing. At the time of the shooting, Robert was a graduate student majoring in environmental journalism. Thus, it was as Mr. Thomas’ former student and as a journalist that Robert became interested in finding out how his bookish, funny, easygoing teacher became an alleged murderer.

As it turned out, Robert was able to meet with Mr. Thomas only once. After that meeting, Mr. Thomas’ lawyer prohibited further meetings. Yet, Robert’s interest in wanting to investigate the circumstances that led up to the shooting inspired Mr. Thomas to begin keeping a journal that included conversations he had in jail with his wife, a black guard, a Latino prisoner, a reverend, and a psychiatrist. As a result of his conversation with a psychiatrist, Mr. Thomas realized that his side of the story would not be fully revealed during the trial because his lawyer would not allow it. It is through these conversations and the extensive notes that accompany them that Mr. Thomas’ history and personality are revealed and most importantly how illegal immigration resulted in an easygoing English teacher becoming a killer. Eventually, the journal expanded into a memoir of Mr. Thomas’ life.

However, though the specific focus of the memoir is the man Mr. Thomas and the incident of his killing of a Mexican illegal immigrant, the larger social issue that emerges in the memoir is immigration itself, legal and illegal. Each person Mr. Thomas spoke with offers a unique viewpoint concerning the controversy surrounding illegal immigration. It is Mr. Thomas’ opinion that illegal immigration has negatively influenced every aspect of American society and culture. He believes his shooting of an illegal immigrant should be understood in that light.

Mr. Thomas even claims that legal immigrants can negatively affect the nation that accepts them. This is based on his belief that some cultures are better than others; thus some immigrants are better for a host nation than are others. In this regard, he believes it is foolish for a nation to accept immigrants who come from criminalized cultures or from cultures whose religion is violently intolerant and incites acts of terrorism. Ultimately, however, the reader will decide whether or not Mr. Thomas is guilty and whether his views on immigration are valid or not.

 

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About the Author
Frank Kyle received his doctorate in English from the University of Northern Colorado and holds graduate degrees in philosophy and psychology. His philosophical fiction and poetry include Christine’s Philosophical Journey - San Diego, Christine’s Philosophical Journey – Paris, Su Casa Es Mi Casa, Freddy’s Freaky American Life, and Tatiana.

 

 

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