Study Guide

Nardo a.k.a. Bernardo Hernandez in Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida

By Victor Martinez

Nardo a.k.a. Bernardo Hernandez

Nardo is Manny's older brother, and like his sister Magda, this boy has some attitude. He's pretty clear that there's one task he hates more than anything else—hard work—and he doesn't hide the fact that, more than anything else, he really likes making himself look good. In other words, Nardo spends most of the book being a pretty vain slacker; he doesn't really seem to care that his family needs everyone to work as hard as possible. Check out Nardo indulging his vanity:

For his part, Nardo stayed home lifting weights and doing sit-ups and push-ups, and nursing any piddling little pimple worth a few hours of panic. He was a nut about his handsome looks, and must have tenderly combed his hair at least twenty times a day in the mirror. (1.15)

We're all for taking a little personal time, especially with so much family drama swirling, but Nardo is so focused on his looks that he seems to prioritize them over pretty much everything else. And based on Manny's tone here, we're thinking that he's losing patience with his big bro, too. Did you notice how hyperbolic Manny gets when talking about Nardo? Since he says Nardo goes into a "panic" for hours over a zit and combs his hair all day long, we're getting the feeling that Manny could do with a little less of Nardo's vanity.

But get ready for a twist, because by the end of the story, Nardo has whipped himself into shape a bit. He gets a job at a pharmacy working as a delivery guy. And he's pretty good at it, too. He even starts caring about his work and we stop hearing so much about weightlifting and hair combing. Good on ya, Nardo—way to set an example.