Book Review: Dominicana

Book Review: DominicanaDominicana
by Angie Cruz
on September 3, 2019
Pages: 336
Published by Flatiron Books
Genres: Diverse Spines, Fiction
Goodreads

Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.

As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

My TakeawayAngie Cruz, DominicanaWhat have you done to my heart, Angie Cruz?! From the cover to the writing, I loved, loved Dominicana! When I finished reading it I could not stop thinking about Ana (major book hangover). Cruz weaved a remarkable story with complicated but fascinating individuals. I felt an…

Book Review: The Line Becomes a River

Book Review: The Line Becomes a RiverThe Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border
by Francisco Cantú
on February 5, 2019
Pages: 288
Published by Riverhead Books
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Goodreads

For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive.

Cantú tries not to think where the stories go from there. Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River makes urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the line.

My Takeaway“There are days when I feel I am becoming good at what I do. And then I wonder, what does it mean to be good at this?” Francisco Cantú, The Line Becomes a River I came across this book some time ago but refused to read it because…

Book Review: Allegedly

Book Review: AllegedlyAllegedly
by Tiffany D. Jackson
on January 24, 2017
Pages: 400
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: Diverse Spines, Young Adult
Goodreads

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

My Takeaway“Hard to celebrate the day you were born when everybody seems to wish you were never born at all.” Tiffany D. Jackson, Allegedly I read Monday’s Not Coming also by Jackson and enjoyed it so much; I had to read Allegedly sooner rather than later. Guys, it…

Book Review: Sabrina & Corina

Book Review: Sabrina & CorinaSabrina & Corina
by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
on April 2, 2019
Pages: 224
Published by One World
Genres: Diverse Spines, Short Stories
Goodreads


Indigenous Latina women living in the American West take center stage in this debut collection of stories--a powerful meditation on friendship, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands.

Kali Fajardo-Anstine's magnetic debut story collection breathes life into her Indigenous Latina characters and the land they inhabit. Set against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado--a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite--these women navigate the land the way they navigate their own lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force.

In "Sugar Babies," ancestry and heritage are hidden inside the earth, but have the tendency to ascend during land disputes. "Any Further West" follows a sex worker and her daughter as they leave their ancestral home in southern Colorado only to find a foreign and hostile land in California. In "Tomi," a woman returns home from prison, finding herself in a gentrified city that is a shadow of the one she remembers from her childhood. And in the title story, "Sabrina & Corina," a Denver family falls into a cycle of violence against women, coming together only through ritual.

Sabrina & Corina is a moving narrative of unrelenting feminine power and an exploration of the universal experiences of abandonment, heritage, and an eternal sense of home.

My Takeaway“Sometimes a person’s unhappiness can make them forget they are a part of something bigger, something like a family, a people, even a tribe.”Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Sabrina & Karina I LOVED THIS BOOK! Fajardo-Anstine is a magnificent and wondrous composer, and her…

Book Review: A Woman Is No Man

Book Review: A Woman Is No ManA Woman Is No Man
by Etaf Rum
on March 5, 2019
Pages: 336
Published by Harper
Goodreads

In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was told about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her fragile community.

Set in an America that may feel removed yet is all too close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is both a gripping page-turner and an intimate family portrait. Fans of The Kite Runner and Everything I Never Told You will be drawn to this powerful novel.

My Takeaway“Soon you’ll learn that there’s no room for love in a woman’s life. There’s only one thing you’ll need, and that’s patience.”Etaf Rum, A Woman Is No Man For the most part, I enjoyed A…