Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz
By Belinda Acosta

    Austin author and journalist Belinda Acosta's debut novel Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz is heartfelt and empowering.  Acosta weaves a tale of a woman wronged by her husband, a daughter who worships the ground that her father walks on, and a mother who keeps silent to
protect her daughter.
    The mother, Ana Ruiz, takes the reader on a journey through her life, set against the colorful backdrop of San Antonio.  Ana's daughter, Carman, blames her mother for her father leaving - and makes planning her upcoming Quinceanera an utter nightmare.
     Wanting to protect her children from the real reason their father left, Ana endures the sarcasm and wrath that Carman throws her way. Wanting tranquility, Ana meets with her ex-husband Estaban, to try and make sense out of what happened - and why.
     To be honest, I personally didn't grasp the intention of the novel - so I turned to someone who would, my mother.  A retired high school English teacher who taught in a school district where Hispanics and Latinos were the majority; my mother would come home day after day, talking about what many of her students were going through.  So when Belinda Acosta's book came across my desk, I asked my mother to take a look and tell me what she thought.
     Her verdict was that the book represented what so many girls she educated during the last 20 years had gone through - and that the book is perfect reading material for high school girls and their mothers.  Saying that Acosta's novel was an accurate, touching, well-written and entertaining novel,  I went back and read it again.  This time - with a point of to reference - I began to see what my mother saw.
     The book is not for everyone, but I think it should be added to high school reading lists.    Acosta has done a magnificent job with her debut novel, and has earned her place along side other talented Latina authors that include Sandra Cisneros, Julia Alvarez and Cristina Garcia.

Nick Manix is a professional writer and journalist who splits his time between Central Texas and New Orleans.

(Cover image courtesy