My grandmother always said that someone could (and should!) write a book about her.
In a way, I think Angie Cruz did!
It’s such a cleverly written, well-told book and I was so fortunate to have chosen it as an audiobook – if you can, that’s the way to go! Listening to the manner in which Cara Romero answered questions the way SHE wanted to answer them, getting to the point via 100 other stops along the way, stopping to emphasize that no one could do it /understand it the way she could – it felt so very familiar!
No, my grandmother wasn’t Dominican, though she did speak Spanish. She was from Brest – today’s Belarus, part of Poland and Russia in the past. Along with the Yiddish, Polish, and Russian of her childhood, she spoke Hebrew, and Spanish learned during her 7 years living in Cuba.
Both women immigrated to New York from a Spanish-speaking island.
But that’s just the beginning.
Cara Romero always had to fend for herself and look after others, a resilient woman who had to struggle without the support of a husband. A woman who made some bad choices, managed to fall out with a lot of people, yet still retained a zest for life, and the energy to start over. Yet again. Then again.
Both women craved approval for their effort, for being who they were, and for the life they managed to create despite all odds, as both of them never got any such approval at home. Cara Romero of the book had a mother, who did not want to have children and was not interested in them. My grandmother was orphaned at the age of two and had the classic evil stepmother. Both Cara Romero and my grandmother stated repeatedly that they never had a childhood.
The desperate plea for approval shows up so clearly in those repeated statements (I’m not quoting verbatim, it was an audiobook!): Write this down. Everyone knows that Cara Romero does it better – if it is quieting the baby, being the one everyone turned to at work for advice, cooking, you name it…
I’m sure Cara Romero and my grandmother would have hated each other vehemently – two strong-willed women like them would have clashed within five minutes of being introduced…
Thank you, Angie Cruz! I loved the book!