Book Review: In the Country We Love

Photo credit: inthecountrywelove.com

Photo credit: inthecountrywelove.com

In her recently released book called “In the Country We Love,” actress Diane Guerrero shares her story, full of despair, injustices, and frustration over her family’s efforts to become citizens. It is the story of struggle among a family of undocumented immigrants.

This name will pop into your mind as one of the actresses on the Latino series: “Jane the Virgin” where she plays the role of Lina, who is the best friend of the protagonist Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez). You may also know her from the hit Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.” Aside from being an amazing actress, Diane Guerrero is also a successful author. She recently released a book telling her story as a Latina living in the US. Although this Latina was born in the United States, she comes from a long dynasty of Colombianos. Her parents decided to pursue the American Dream  by traveling to New Jersey, where Diane was born. Later on, her family moved to Boston.

“In the Country We Love” details her childhood and family dynamics. Her family, which includes her father, mother, and older brother, were born outside of the U.S. Diane is the only member with a U.S., which has led to her witnessing the deportation of different family members. Both of her parents were deported when she was 14. Resilience, willingness and the caring of other Colombian families was left for Diane to carry along with her new life in the states.

Her story emphasizes the struggle lived by thousands of immigrants once their families are broken up and separated because of deportation. The fear and desperation of a family to obtain U.S. citizenship and stop hiding between 1990 – 2013 is lived by 17.4 million of immigrants from Latin America countries, according to a study from the United Nations.

Living with low paying jobs, help from a few other families, and exposure to the abuse of power were some of the several obstacles encountered by Diane and her family before their deportation. After this tragic event, Diane gained courage to thrive. She stayed focused on what she wanted her life to be like in the land that did not care about her wellbeing once her family got deported. “In the Country of Love” is not a sob story, but a story of resilience. Of the realities families without U.S. citizenship encounter on a daily basis. Her story, and her family’s story, is one of strength. Diane Guerrero truly honors her family and her last name. She is a brave guerrera who has managed to survive in an environment of loneliness, lack of opportunities and discrimination. “In the Country of Love” is a must-read!

Spotlight: Latina Artist, Author, and Poets

Art is a lifestyle of hard work, dedication, and creativity. These outstanding mujeres make it look so easy.

Rosa Guerrero, founder and artistic director of the International Folklorico Dance Group, is an inspiring folklorico dancer. As an artist, educator, dance historian, and humanitarian, teaching, she has an extensive background and involvement with the El Paso, Texas community.  She is the first Latina in El Paso to have a school named after her: Rosa Guerrero Elementary. Winner of several awards including, but not limited to, the Outstanding Woman in the Arts from Woman’s Political Caucus, LULAC Arts and Humanities award, Arts Alliance Individual Dance Award and Outstanding Hispanic of El Paso.

Helena Maria Viramontes is an iconic Chicana writer whose literary masterpieces reflect her childhood upbringing in East Los Angeles. Her first novel, Under the Feet of Jesus, jumpstarted her career as a renowned author. She is currently the Director of Creative Writing at Cornell University, and is a community organizer and former coordinator of the Los Angeles Latino Writers Association.

Bessy Reina, a highly accomplished poet, was born in Cuba and raised in Panama. Her poetry has been published in both English and Spanish, and in 2001, she was named Latina Citizen of the Year by the State of Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission. Later, in 2012, she was named as one out of ten women honored by the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.  Vivian Shipley, another highly accomplished poet, describes Bessy’s poetry as a “…. a channel, a way to bridge east and  west by reconciling the warring needs of the body, the mind and the heart. Whether Reyna is dancing with a stalk  of sugar cane in Hartford, Connecticut, or in her birthplace of Cuba, poem after poem is as lively as a salsa. Like chewing sugar cane, her poems ultimately reward with their hard-won sweetness, with the taste that leaves us wanting more.” She is currently a writer for the Hispanic newspaper Identidad Latina and for www.CTLatinoNews.com.

Julia de Burgos
A renowned Puerto Rican poet, she is best known for her feminist written contributions for African/Afro-Caribbean writers. As a civil rights activist and teacher, she has, and continues to, inspire many women writers. Her poetry on the struggle of feeling oppressed has touched so many hearts, including the one of the famous Pablo Neruda. Her final poem foreshadowed her death in 1953, and, in 1986, she posthumously received a doctorate in Humans Arts and Letters from the Spanish Department of the University of Puerto Rico.

La Malinche Book Review

La Malinche, or actually Malinalli, was not the Aztec princess legend says.malinche She was royalty in the Aztec empire, but was discarded by her mother as a baby out of preference to her siblings and dodged being sacrificed upon the intervention of her loving and mystical grandmother who raised her. Well, so relays acclaimed author Laura Esquivel who is writing about a legendary character born in a time when public record was chiseled rather than written. Esquivel brought us one of the most adored narratives in Latino literature: “Like Water for Chocolate,” a novel also became an award-winning movie.

La Malinche tells us the story of a young woman finding out who she really is through the power of language.  And, though it is set in the late 1500s, early 1600s, it’s as timeless as any story about a girl finding her power in her own voice, beliefs and self.

If you are not familiar with La Malinche, legend says she is the mother of all Mexico, or, for many, she is also remembered as the destroyer of all Mexico .  La Malinche, represented by the character Malinalli in Esquivel’s book, was multi-lingual and could translate Nahuatl of her elders to Spanish and vice versa. As a result, she gained the fondness of Spanish conquerer Hernán Cortes.  In Esquivel’s story it’s clear Cortes is drawn to Malinalli, but we are not sure if it is his bloodthirst for power that drives his admiration. Feeling discarded by her mother, Malinalli gains worth in Cortes’ troops as a translator and in a romance with him that produces beloved children of her own.

But, after Cortes repeatedly uses her to conquer and kill the native people of Mexico, she sees him more for the short, unhappy, power hungry villain that earned the nickname early on: La Malinche, in which she was named for.  It is so rare we get to read a story of Mexican or any Latino history from the point of view of a girl. It is also rare to get a whole sensory experience in a book and Esquivel is all about revealing tastes, smells and what a time feels like. Malinalli shares that the Spanish soldiers reek of the garlic they eat and don’t bathe often.  Though we have perceptions of “primitive” life, such as that of the tribes that existed in what is now Mexico and that Spain was “developed” or “advanced,” in just a few short lines we realize native peoples of America were leaps ahead of their European visitors – even if it was just about good hygiene.

What I most loved about this book which I’d recommend any teen reader is how La Malinche is not demonized in this story as she is in most accounts. She is made human. We find out her need for human love, the rejection of her mothers’ love and her place as a girl in a society where human sacrifices were necessary and common. We learn about her bravery, contributions to Mexican history and a broader picture of who Malinalli (La Malinche) was.

Book Review: Finding Miracles

“Finding Miracles” started off as what seemed to be just a novel about a girl in Vermont, and it grew into a beautiful coming of age story.

Finding Miracles Julia Alvarez Book Cover

The book is about a young girl, Milly (her full name is Milagros), who was adopted as a child and grew up to become an American teen – and she was just fine with that. As most books go, a new boy shows up to school, but this boy is different from most in books like these. Milly quickly finds out that he has something in common with her, and that is what makes her decide to find out more about her birth parents.

The characters in this book are relatable, as well, even if Milly wasn’t adopted from a Latin country into a Caucasian family. Her friends and her relationships with them are realistic and that makes it easy for readers to put themselves into the novel.

Julia Alvarez, the author of this novel, said, “I have met quite a few young people who were adopted from other countries by American moms and dads. I have watched them grow up and struggle to understand how to fit their “shadow” culture and world into the story of their lives.”

And so she wrote this novel for any other young people that might deal with this same issue. The title of the novel, “Finding Miracles,” is just another way of saying “Finding Milagros.” Alvarez’s story is all about how Milly finds herself in her American culture, but also her Latin one. She learns to embrace who she truly is after hiding it away for so many years.

Alvarez also leaves out the name of the country Milly is from so that readers can imagine it as any place they like, maybe even the country they are from. She describes the country well enough for readers to get an image in their head, but vaguely enough for it to be almost any Latin American country.

This book would be good for anyone to read, not just anyone that’s been in that situation. Although everyone is different, and there might not be anyone in the exact same position as Milly, readers learn what someone they know might be feeling if they are in a situation similar to this. And if the readers don’t know anyone who has had to go through this, the novel has a good plot that will keep readers interested until the very end.

Book Review: Rogelia’s House of Magic

Rogelia's House of MagicRogelia’s House of Magic follows the journey of three girls into the world of curanderismo magic and the world of friendship, love, and family it opens up along the way. What begins as three girls trying to learn magic becomes a story of friends finding the family and love they didn’t know they were looking for.

Rogelia’s House of Magic is the story of Xochitl, Marina, and Fern—three fifteen-year-old girls with three different problems in their lives. Xochitl was excited to move to the United States from Mexico, but her twin sister died in an accident along the way and she can’t stop mourning her death. Now she is afraid to open up and enjoy the friendship of others. Fern lives in the barrio and her mom is never around. She has a big heart for nature though and is trying to save sacred wetlands from being developed by a housing company. Marina was Fern’s old neighbor in the barrio until her mom make a ton of money and moved them into a big house and shunned their old life. Marina can’t seem to make her mother proud and she hates that she has no connection to her Mexican heritage.

Things seem tough for the girls, until they meet Rogelia. Rogelia is Marina’s new maid and Xochitl’s grandma. Rogelia is a curandera, or a wise healer, who was well-known in her village for using nature and magic to heal people and save lives. Marina and Fern ask Rogelia to teach them magic and this leads to their friendship with Xochitl. The girls gain powers through their training, but don’t realize they are gaining a lot more than that. Rogelia comes to fill a void in each of their lives. For Marina, Rogelia is a connection to her heritage and a stand-in for the grandmother she never had. Rogelia teaches Fern that she is capable of forming relationships with people and she doesn’t have to take care of herself. In Xochitl’s case, Rogelia is a connection to her past and her sister, and she inspires Xochitl to take a step forward in life and move past her loss.

The most important bond though, is between the three girls. Rogelia’s House of Magic is a story about friendship at its core. Anyone with a bestfriend will understand how powerful their connection is. Fern and Marina have been friends for years and have supported each other through ups and downs. Xochitl is wary of the girls’ friendship and worries they are only using her for her grandmother’s lessons. Together they help each other open up about their problems and a dreams and push each other to go out and change their own lives. In the end, they learn that magic is nothing without their friendship. Magic is fueled by their love for each other and leads them to do some of their greatest magic yet.

Of course, the magic is rooted in reality. Curanderismo is a practice of folk healing in Latin American culture. Don’t expect any magic wands like in Harry Potter. The girls learn power like clairvoyance, invisibility, and psychic mediumship. Rogelia teaches them that the magic really lies in nature and their connection to the world and to each other. The only way to perform the most difficult of spells is to do it with the purest hearts and best intentions. Magic is driven by love and their combined love is all the more powerful.

While we may not all be curanderas, the book is a great read with something everyone can relate to—friendship, crushes, or family drama. This book inspires the reader to appreciate the family and heritage that we sometimes forget about in our busy lives. Rogelia’s House of Magic is a reminder that the true magic in the world is that of the love we show to others.

Book Review: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Sisterhood of the Traveling PantsWritten by Andrea Barreto

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares is an amazing start to a series based on four very different young girls as they navigate young adulthood. The all too familiar feeling of being caught in a moment where everything is on the brink of changing sets the tone for what is meant to be a transformative summer. Aptly nicknamed the Septembers because of their birthdays, Carmen, Tibby, Lena and Bridget have grown up spending all their time together. Yet this is the first summer they spend apart and for Carmen especially, this is becomes more difficult to understand.

Though they are the oldest sibling in their own families, each of the Septembers holds a different role in their circle: Tibby is the anti-conformist; Lena, the introverted painter; Bridget, the fearless athlete; and Carmen, the creative writer. Perhaps because Carmen is the youngest in her group of friends, she feels the most impacted by the different routes this summer is taking them. It was her desire that they take a pair of pants that magically fit each girl on their trips in hopes of keeping a piece of one another even in their time apart. Her summer journey takes her to South Carolina for some quality time with her mostly absent father. After her parents separated when she was a child, Carmen tried her hardest to be a daughter that her father would be proud of. The desire to be the best in the eyes of a parent is something I’m sure many young children can understand, and this summer was supposed to be Carmen’s biggest opportunity to show her father what he was missing.

Of course, things don’t go according to plan when Carmen realizes her father has become engaged to a woman with two seemingly perfect children of her own. Soon her father is breaking tennis dates with Carmen to deal with wedding details crises and cheering on his future son at soccer games. All of these appear to be normal family problems, which is why the books are so meaningful. These stories sound like my friends in high school, even my own family situation to an extent. It is profoundly beautiful in its simplicity. From this moment on we see Carmen at an uncomfortable bridesmaid dress fitting, made even more awkward because her full figure comes from her mother’s Puerto Rican heritage.  Rewind a little and we see at the beginning of the novel that even within her own group of friends, Carmen feels isolated; she fears the pants won’t fit over her thighs and she didn’t want to be “the big fatso”. Like many of us when faced with a difficult situation, Carmen literally runs away from the bridal store, expecting her father to notice her absence and being painfully disappointed when he fails to do so.

In her explanations to her mother and even Tibby, Carmen cannot understand why they would assume she’s mad at her father when she actually blames his new family. In her anger, she pushes Tibby away but ends up coming to the conclusion that she cannot admit any negative feelings towards her father. When I was a high school student reading this, this particular moment struck a nerve inside me. The difference was, however, that I could not stand up to my friends. I never had a problem speaking up for myself among my family, because I knew they would always be there for me regardless. The nervous heartbeats and trembling hands came whenever I had to assert myself to someone else, someone I didn’t know wouldn’t stay mad at me forever. This is exactly what Tibby reveals to Carmen when Carmen says she has no problem being mad at her friends – “Maybe, sometimes, it’s easier to be mad at the people you trust because you know they’ll always love you, no matter what.” This trust is something that, try as she might, Carmen was never able to develop with her father. The more she thought about it, the more Carmen realized there was so much she was holding back in an effort to have a happy relationship with her father. Being somewhat passive aggressive myself, I had to really reflect on what I personally was scared of when confronting other people.

Carmen took the time to consider that maybe there was something she herself was doing wrong, and in this way she managed to exude a quieter strength than what she expected. Sometimes there is this idea of how we expect courage to manifest, that it should be in your face and glaringly obvious as a feat of bravery. Occasionally, it is. But more often than not, it’s that quiet shift we feel within ourselves when something significant happens. Carmen felt that shift, and finally decided to act on it. She called her father and finally told him that she resented him for finding a family he preferred over her. Her father apologized but Carmen knew that the words would only matter if they both changed their behavior. So along with the help of her friends, she drove up for her father’s wedding and stood by his side in those traveling pants. While the pants themselves did not change Carmen as a person, it helped for all of the girls to believe that a force greater than they could imagine was a witness to their transformative journeys. This belief is told in many different ways and in all kinds of stories. The beauty of this narrative in particular comes from how deeply rooted it is in our daily reality while never forgetting the existence of that special magic they feel lives in a pair of blue jeans.

Review: “I am Malala”

80ba698508f76288e82c306520908022In “I am Malala” by Mala Yousafzai, we journey through the story of Malala.  Malala, a young girl born in Pakistan where educated women are rare, grows up with an understanding of how the power of raising our voices, words and education can change the world.

The book is inspirational right from the beginning with the story of Malala’s father,  Ziauddin. Her father, despite his upbringing in poverty, manages to become an educated man. Through the story of Ziuaddin, we first gain a glimpses to the environment and ideas that will later influence Malala. Unlike many other Pakastani men who are upset when a daughter is born, Ziauddin is proud of having a daughter. He makes sure that she receives the same  treatment as her brothers. He proceeds by refusing to allow the Woma (the celebration of a child’s life in the Pashtun culture) be paid by Baba (Malala’s grandfather) when her brothers are born. Ziauddin knows that an education that promotes independent thinking is nonexistent  in Pakistan, he decides to open a school.  Opening a school is not easy in Pakistan since principals are expected to bribe school officials for registration. This ignites Ziuaddin to speak out on the importance of children being educated and created an organization for principals to gather and fight the restrictions. Despite the adversities to education that are imposed, the Khusal school managed to flourish.

Malala grows up in her father’s school, develops a love for knowledge and, even though she’s a girl, is allowed to listen to politics. When she encounters children ridden in the dumps squandering for food, she realizes that not every child — especially girls– have an opportunity to be educated. Her own mother and aunts are unable to read, write, and share the same view that many Pakastani women share about school: Not seeing the point of going to school since they will end up being mothers and wives. This makes her even more appreciative to have an education, and she promotes a new way to view education as a gateway to change and opportunity.

During this time, Islam was gaining even more importance in the Pakastani society. False interpretations began to emerge, and the bearers of false interpretations of the Qu’ran were the Taliban terrorists who had moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Unknowingly, people began to support these terrors. This made Malala and her father realize the necessity of literacy more evident. If more people were literate, they would know about the misinterpretations of the Qu’ran the Taliban were giving. Schools began to be attacked and death threats began to spread with restrictions on how women and men should dress by the Taliban. The first to speak up was Ziauddin, encouraging  more people to speak up, reminding the reader how powerful our voices can be and how they can inspire others to stand up against injustices. During those dark days, students like Malala and her friends took refugee in school; for them, school became a getaway from the darkness the Taliban brought.

Under a pen name, Malala kept an online diary in a blog about living under the Taliban rule enhancing awareness to the problems Pakistan was facing. It is here where she realizes, “that the pen and words that come from it can be much more powerful than machine guns, tanks or helicopters. We were learning how to struggle. And we were learning how powerful we are when we speak.” Ultimately, this awareness is what saved her life in the end. “I am Malala” is a book worth reading to gain a greater understanding of world affairs and is a powerful reminder of how we can make a difference.

Book Review: “Fostered Adult Children Together”

9781475988390_p0_v1_s260x420Written by Alexis Bobadilla

Fostered Adult Children Together, On The Bridge to Healing … Will we ever get over it? tells the stories of over 60 former foster children whom faced several obstacles within the American Foster Home system and came out scarred, broken, yet positive, hopeful and faithful. Aside from the devastating experiences, there were many positive notes in the stories as well. Most of the journeys throughout this book end with the writer being emotionally scarred but with a positive view that they survived.

The main author of the book is a powerful woman named Carol Lucas who was also a former foster child. Lucas is the founder of F.A.C.T., or Fostered Adult Children Together, which she created to help former foster children come together for support, to encourage them, give them strength and help them heal together. Carol Lucas also wrote this book hoping to help other former foster children know that there are other people who have gone through the system, and to let them know that they are not alone.

Many of these stories are very moving, and show the benefits that come from the book and from receiving assistance from her organizatione. One of the stories is from a Hispanic woman named Tianna (Tia) Marie Hartford. She went through so much before the age of 9 years old. From being drowned to being chained in the basement, her story does not get better until the age of 25. The strength that this Latina woman has shown is very admirable. Even after everything she endured during her childhood, she still had enough courage to have children, twins to be exact. For most people the events that have happened to her would have traumatized someone from having their own children. Even though she has her doubts about being a mother, she is still trying to make sure they have a better life than she did. Hartford has a truly inspiring tale that needs to be told.

In another story the writer Terri Rimmer, who is also a former foster child, provided 10 Tips for Former Foster Children that every former foster child should follow.

Terri Rimmer shares the following tips for former foster children: 

Tip #1: Think positively about your future, now is a fresh start.

Tip #2: Find support

Tip #3: Get counseling

Tip #4: Join a church

Tip #5: Keep in contact with siblings and think wisely regarding family contact

Tip #6: Enjoy life without children for awhile

Tip #7: Volunteer

Tip #8: Stay away from drugs

Tip #9: Speak out

Tip #10: Ask for help

These tips should be a guideline for every former foster child who has been pushed through the foster care system. This book is highly recommended to anyone who is either interested in social work, foster care and for any former foster child who wants a support group to overcome their childhood memories.

5 Books Worth Reading this Summer

Summer break can mean a couple things and it all depends on who you ask. For some, summer break means going out of town, and if you fall under that category then you are lucky. However, for everyone else there is another way to travel and the best part is you don’t have to unpack when you come back home! Take a creative and mental vacation by reading a good book. If you are an avid reader or a person who reads for pleasure, below is a list of interesting and exciting young adult novels that you can read while on break!

1) Chain Reaction:  A Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles: This is a great novel if you’re looking for a love story with a twist.

Chain reaction tells the story through the perspective of Luis Fuentes and Nikki Cruz. Luis tries to walk the line and do good. He has big dreams of becoming an astronaut. Nikki follows two rules when it comes to dating boys, her number one rule  is to never trust a boy who says “I love you.”  Her second rule is to never date a boy from the South side of Fairfield. Luis takes the challenge of winning over Nikki; however, conflict arises and a dark future calls Luis, will Luis continue on his righteous path or follow his brothers footsteps into a dark world he is foreign to?

 

2) The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez: This novel is ideal for the teen in high school who finds themselves in an awkward stage of life.

Charlie is in his senior year of high school. Even though things should be looking up since he has lost thirty pounds over the summer, they are not. Charlie must still deal with the name calling, which happens to be “Chunks.” The worst part about the year is that his mother has disappeared, and it’s not the first time. To add to the mix, his father doesn’t want to talk about it. To top it all off, Charlie has a crush on the new girl in school, the beautiful Charlotte VanderKleaton; however, he doesn’t know if she likes him back. There is one thing in Charlie’s life that doesn’t totally suck this year: his new found talent of photography. Will Charlie make it through the year with only one good thing going for him?

 

3) Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia. This film has been adapted into a film and is being premiered on Valentines Day! However, this is an unconventional love story.

When Lena Duchannes moves into the small  Southern town’s oldest and infamous plantation in Gatlin, she can’t help but stand out from the rest. Lena struggles with an old family curse that has haunted her family for generations and is having a hard time concealing her powers. At the same time, Ethan Wate, who also lives in the Gatlin, has been having dreams of a beautiful girl that he has never met before. When he meets Lena he feels an unexplainable connection between them, what is behind the connection is a secret they will soon uncover.

 

 

4) Gringolandia by Lyn Miller. This novel hits home for most Latinita readers who have immigrant family members or are immigrants from another country themselves.

Daniel and his family have been living in the U.S since 1980, due to fleeing rom Chile due to Daniel’s papá’s arrest. In the United States Daniel has a completely new life. He’s in a rock band and even has a new girlfriend, Courtney. He also hopes to soon become a citizen of the U.S when he turns eighteen. However, Daniel’s father is released from jail and is exiled to “Gringolandia.” Papá is conflicted by the torture and experiences he went through in prison. Daniel worries that his father’s path of alcohol abuse and self destruction will only worsen and he will never be able to have the ideal father-son relationship with his dad. Will Courtney’s plan to start a bilingual human rights paper only stir things up more with Papá?

 

5) Choke by Diana Lopez. This novel is for teens interested in an unconventional friendships.

Windy wants to change everything about herself, if only her parents would let her. Windy is in the eighth grade and wishes to get highlights in her hair, wear make up and change her wardrobe, but nothing seems to change. Everything is the same until one day when Nina, the popular and confident girl at school, befriends Windy. Windy’s life changes drastically, she gains new friends and is even asked by Nina to be “breath sisters,” although Windy is unsure of what that means she still wants to discover what it is. However, this new crowd of friends and life comes with a dangerous price.

Las Comadres and Count on Me

There are many times in a person’s life when being alone isn’t enough and a comforting ear is needed. Las Comadres is an organization that grew with women in need of a good listener. It is a national network of women who meet within their own community once a month to talk about friendship, tell their stories, and discuss how to help the community. It was started in Austin, Texas with the goal of encouraging Latina women to support each other. Now there are multiple branches around the US and internationally. Recently, Las Comadres created an anthology entitled, “Count On Me: Tales Of Sisterhoods and Fierce Friendships,” where they asked several of their members to write about friendship and how they have overcome obstacles during difficult times.

There are twelve non-fiction stories within the creative collaboration that advocate the importance of comadres for those living on the border, deep in the US, or anywhere in Latin America.  I had the pleasure of listening in on the conference call where Nora de Hoyos Comstock, founder of Las Comadres, interviewed a few of the authors from the anthology.  Adriana Lopez, editor of Criticas Magazine and many other anthologies, loved the idea of a Las Comadres anthology and pitched the idea to be published; all she had to do was find a collaboration with different types of Latino authors.  To bring a cohesive voice to the anthology, Lopez focused on each story’s dramatic event where the reader could relate. “I made sure there was an arc in each of the stories,” says Lopez.

Some of the writers who participated in the conference interview were Lorraine Lopez, Dr. Ana Nogales, and Reyna Grande. When asked about their writing process and if they had learned anything about themselves or their friendship, the authors unanimously replied that they all had realized an understanding of the amount of emotion, effort and energy put into themselves and the relationship. Lorraine Lopez stated, “the writing process did help me learn about myself, both of us, how we work, and what made the relationship last… both parties need to be invested in the relationship so that everyone can benefit and learn.” Lorraine Lopez refers to both parties as her mentor/mentee relationship she experienced with her Professor turned comadre.

The main point of Las Comadres was to give women someone they could count on to turn to during a particular time in their life, whether it be happy or tragic. In Nogales’s story, “A Heart to Heart Connection,” she has a relationship described in the title, “I wasn’t alone, I’m not an outsider, I’m one of many who are striving and searching for a comadre… looking for a oneness, a wholeness.” Although each author had a different comadre, they all seemed to be looking for the same thing, companionship.

Commenting on the economic situation, Comstock asked if there were any difficulties finding time for each comadre. Nogales stated how “Comadres is a community effort where the building never stops.” Economic downfall seemed to be just another obstacle for the Comadres to face. For example author Reyna Grande shared how she went through many hardships alone while she was younger but, “all the wonderful moments that came out, being able to relive those (awful) moments…” helped her move forward.

Transcending Literature:
In literature, the supporting character or character of most importance to the protagonist is called the foil, without the foil the story would have no meaning or sequence. Make sure you find the best supporting character you know, and remember to reciprocate the favor. Whatever point in life you see yourself in whether it be great, awful or stagnant, remember that you always have a comadre, or in some instances compadre, who will be right by your side.