“Bait” by Alec Sanchez— Saving the Boy

Sanchez, Alec. “Bait”, Simon and Schuster, 2011.

Saving the Boy

Amos Lassen

When I see the name Alec Sanchez, I know I am in for a good read and I have never been disappointed. Here he deals with sexual abuse but not the kind we usually read about. Instead of the telling of secrets that has become the hallmark of writing about sexual abuse, here Sanchez concentrates on trying to understand what happened and then moving forward.

Diego MacMann is a boy in trouble and with troubles. Already at the age of 16, he faces juvenile court since he was charged with assault. Diego cannot seem to be able to control his fists especially when his masculinity is challenged. He cannot control his anger and he is somewhere between hating himself and defending his own pride. Diego manages to forge a bond with his probation officer, Mr. Vidas when he asks important questions that force Diego to examine himself and his emotions. His birth father is absent, his stepfather committed suicide and he was looked at by a gay student that he later punched. As Diego begins to understand more about himself, he begins to see something about the sexual abuse that he has suffered and he sees the effect it has had on his family. His talks with Vidas give him the way to deal with his life and to mature.

Diego is not just a victim as he is also a victimizer and as he struggles with self-acceptance, he learns how to deal with conflict. Young readers will find something of themselves in Diego, a boy who has frustrated dreams and who feels different and how he so badly wants a “normal” life. Older readers will remember how it was when they were growing up. The rate of sexual abuse among young boys is very high and statistics say that one out of every six suffers from some kind of abuse. A book like this could not that number if enough read it. That is the power of Sanchez and I certainly hope that he has more books to write.

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