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I am now reading The Accidental Santera and for some reason, it made me remember that I have yet to review Dirty Girls on Top by Alica Valdes- Rodriguez.

I shall do so and attempt to be quick about it.

First , let me say that I don’t think most reviews are worth a damn these days. It seems like no one wants to be negative, that we must PRAISE the novels regardless of issues of, well you know- QUALITY.

First, there are so damned many of them that I could NOT keep them straight. The only characters that jumped out at me were Usnavys and the one who used to be named Amber, oh and the lesbian negra colombiana.I cannot remember their names or really keep their stories apart, the characters werent fleshed out well enough for me.

There were some good points from MY POV.

Usnavys- black. The one who couldn’t have baby (Sara)- married to a saintly negro from Europe. The saintly colombiana- negra.Even the hottie Amaury- black.

Ok, here are their names- Lauren, Usnavys, Sara, Elizabeth, Cuicatl and Rebecca.

Ok. Lauren was the one who was a journalist screwing a hot no good Dominicano. Usnavys is the fat sista who cheats. Sara the lesbian with the adopted baby and evil horrid partner. Elizabeth, is she the one who cant have a baby? Cuicatl/Amber, the rocker. Rebecca, I think the jewish Cubana and I think she was blonde like Cristina. (Thats kinda how I remember her).

NOPE! Sara was the Cristina one and Elizabeth…oh hell, whatever.

Now, for the fun part- what I didnt like.

Usnavys sounded a helluva lot to me like Lula from the Stephanie Plum novels, which I suppose is fitting since they are from the ghettos of the same part of the country. Still, she was irritating and unpleasant and the inclusion of a big fat black woman was marred by the fact that said BBW was portrayed as Lula is, a big fat woman who dresses like she’s a supermodel and thinks shes fine, but is really a laughingstock. HOWEVER, Usnavys did learn not to be a whore like her (black) Dominican father and she left the fine brutha man she was trying to cheat with, because he suddenly morphed into an asshole who made fun of her Latina ways. She took up monogamy and became a good wife and mother and learned to accept that her husband, who was a Good Man, wasnt a pussy because he did housework and helped with the child.

Lauren? She was fuckin a Dominican hottie who dogged her out and was jealous of her student, who it turns out was also fuckin said Dominican hottie.

Cuicatl has issues with success and her music but ultimately finds love with her older manager.

Elizabeth finds that her partner is just a mean gringa bitch with no maternal instincts and they break up. Fortunately she hooks up with a lovely Latina who is a good mother and they seem to be on the way to forming a new family.

Rebecca? Hmm, which was she? Cooking show woman with the abusive husband gets her groove back with a lil cougarism and a new man who loves her AND playing video games with her kids.

The one who cant have a baby, has a black husband who is just absolutely amazing and a refuge from her evil racist parents.

Most of the women were struggling with motherhood. UsN trying to be a good mother and wondering what her role was. Cuicatl had some babies as a surrogate. Elizabeth left her mean wife and found a woman to be agood mother to her lil boy. THe one with the murderous husband found a new son/lover,lol. The one with the perfect life and husband couldnt havea damn kid.

In the end, ppl had their babies and got their partners and despite it all, it was quite traditional.

Boring.

Niggas aint shit. Amaury? Fuckin dog ass nigga. Usnavys dad? Dog ass nigga. Usnavys lover? Dog ass nigga in disguise. The AfroLatin and AfroAmerican men were all FUCKING DOGS. DOGS.Nothing good came from messing with one of them. EVERYONE who laid down with one ended up paying for it.

I’m just sayin’.

There was a good black man, he was a Brit I believe.

Im getting old, because this all bores me. Im glad one chick got her older man and one got her younger man. Im glad they all settled down and were happy, except Amaury’s lover, perhaps because she didnt repent and still had to pay for her sins.

Men are great. I love em. But does the world have to revolve around them? Does a woman have to learn to behave, become monogomous, give up freedom, and promiscuity in order to be happy. Maybe these women who damn near ALL seemed to have had either abusive parents or mates, should have just taken some time to fuckin CHILL and be alone.

UGH, USNAVYS turning over a new leaf and becoming Mrs Monogamy, that bothered me. It was like, heavyhanded.

I did laugh once, when someone said something looked good, how good. Gael Garcia Bernal face up in your bed good. I’m feeling her on that.

The rest? Blah. It was a decent piece of fluff, but too many characters and Im not one to praise minority works simply for existing.I appreciate the effort but it wasnt enough.

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

I loved this book. Junot Diaz explores what it means to be a Dominicano in the US of A. Oscar is a fat, nerdy social misfit. He is so nerdy his nerd friends are embarrassed by him. He struggles to fit in, to find love all while remaining Oscar “Wao”.

How does one remain true to one’s self when that self is the antithesis of all that you are expected to be? When your speech, your appearance, your hobbies and interests make you somehow inauthentic? If an authentic Dominican cannot be authentically Dominican by being himself, what does that mean?

We learn about his mother and his sister, who too have their struggles. The mothers tale is the most fascinating of all, I’ve known many like her. She is a woman who has been through so much that all that is left of her is her will to survive. The daughter, struggles against her mothers vision of who she should be and her need to become herself.

The narrator had a knack for being both hilarious and insightful and I found myself laughing out loud more times than I could count. I like the “realness” of it, his knack for finding just the right word or right analogy to bring a concept to life. The shit about Trujillo was wet-your-pants funny.

In the end,I found I could relate to each of the main characters, I felt I understood them. And Oscar? I’ve been Oscar Wao.
My highest praise is for the author himself, he seems like someone I’d enjoy sitting down and talking ying with.

An Interview with Junot Diaz

I have 10 pages of dreck for every page I write thats worth reading. Yet I continue to write the dreck in order to get to the good part. Unfortunately for you, i share the dreck! 🙂 I like this quotation-

Díaz: I’ve never had the good fortune of getting a clear idea in my head and then writing the damn thing down in one go. The only success I’ve had as a writer is by screwing up over and over and over. I’ll write a story or a chapter 20 times before I start approaching what I think the story should be. And it is in that process of writing what I’m not supposed to be writing that I find my way to what I am supposed to be writing.

A few reviews-
The Ghetto Nerd
From Salon

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