Archives for June 2016
This is wonderful book by a superb writer.
Linda Valdez, today a journalist with the Arizona Republic in Phoenix, tells the story of how many years ago a nice young woman from Cleveland traveled to Mexico and fell in love with Sixto Valdez, a talented, spirtual man from Sinaloa. This is the story of their courtship, marriage and the uncommon blending of families and cultures. Valdez draws vivid and strikingly honest family portraits, particularly, of her mother and mother-in-law.
Sixto and Linda had to jump through more than their fair share of hoops to wed. That saga shows the sheer meanness of American immigration laws and the devastating effect they have on good people who can be blamed only for wanting better lives and risking everything in that pursuit.
Valdez writes with insight into people and compassion. So much so that I put down the book at the end, wishing I had known her mother-in-law, Donã Sole, not to mention her cooking.
There are many memorable scenes in this book. None is more poignant than when Linda meets her mother-in-law for the first time in Sinaloa. Here is an excerpt:
“Sixto reached out to me over his mother’s shoulder, still weeping. The other ladies shepherded me forward. When I got close enough, he pulled me into their embrace. It was a tight hug, and all I could do is hold on.”
“I tried to return the intensity of their moment. But I was unaccustomed to such raw emotion. It washed over me, but did not sweep me away. My eyes stayed dry, and I felt a twinge of guilt about that.”
“. . . I had not said one word, but I’d been accepted.”
“From that moment on, whatever I did — whatever harebrained, outlandish, North American request I might have — was just fine with Sixto’s mother. I was part of her family and under her protection, as surely as a chick under the wing of its mother hen.”
This is a good book and deserves a wide audience, particularly in these Trumped-up times.