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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 350

Miguel 'Big Angel' de la Cruz is the patriarch of the family and main character of the novel. He is determined to celebrate his last birthday with his entire family before he dies from the cancer that has taken over his body. He decides to organize and throw himself a huge birthday party in his home in San Diego. Big Angel reminisces on adventures he never had and on seemingly small instances involving physical movement, such as walking. His diagnosis has blurred the lines between his dreams and reality. Throughout the novel, he reflects on his family's travels to America from Mexico, as well as his struggle and then acceptance of his impending death.

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Grandma América is the mother to Big Angel. She passes away at the age of 100 a few days before Big Angel's party. She is described as stern and embittered. When she separates from Big Angel's father at a young age, she leaves him to live with his aunt and uncle.

Little Angel is Big Angel's half brother.

Perla de la Cruz is Big Angel's wife. She has one daughter and one son with Big Angel. She is the undimmed love of Big Angel.

Minnie de la Cruz is the daughter of Big Angel. She surprises her father with a mariachi band at his birthday party.

Lalo de la Cruz is the son of Big Angel.

Don Segunda is the grandfather of Big Angel.

Don Antonio de la Cruz is the father of Big Angel. Big Angel's memories of him are around his strict nature. He separates from Big Angel's mother and sends him to live with his aunt and uncle.

Chente Bent is the abusive uncle and lover of Mama America.

Tia Cuca Bent is the aunt.

The novel has many more characters. Big Angel invites his entire extended family, some neighbors, and friends to the party. Most of the characters do not have a major part, but are introduced periodically. Therefore, I've only highlighted some of the reoccurring characters. A link is added that lists the names of all the characters in the novel.

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