Friday, August 28, 2009

Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz-Belinda Acosta

Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz
Belinda Acosta
Grand Central, Aug 2009, $13.99
ISBN: 9780446540513

Ana Ruiz has her hands full as her fourteen year old daughter Carmen blames her for her dad Esteban leaving them although he cheated on her and he left. She wonders if she made a mistake hiding Esteban’s affairs from Carmen and their other older child Diego.

Regardless Ana desperately wants to regain what Esteban destroyed when he walked out: her closeness with Carmen. She decides to throw a quinceanera gala for her daughter, but Carmen seems disinterested; preferring to punch her mom by exclusion and omission, Ana is hurt more by Carmen’s behavior than the womanizing and abandonment by Esteban. Diego plays intermediary between his wary mom and his acrimonious sis while his cousin Bianca takes over the role of quinceanera party planner.

This is a well written family drama that deftly focuses on the extended Ruiz brood. Ironically the “white girl from Kansas” enhances the profound look at a Mexican-American family as she knows more about Mexican music than the Ruiz family. Carmen is angry and but holding her mom culpable while her brother guesses at the truth. Ana is superb as the prime player who feels as if her world has ended yet resolutely hides what Esteban did to her from her daughter. Fans will enjoy this drama that looks into the trials and tribulations of a Mexican-American family.

Harriet Klausner

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