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
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 Amazon.com)