Radikal Readings: Caramelo

I have a deep love of reading authors whose words are so vivid and poetic, it’s as if you are living the story with the characters. That is what reading any of Sandra Cisneros’ works is like. She brings to life a story of a large Mexican-American family over several generations. Told from the point of view of Celaya “Lala” Reyes, the only daughter and youngest in the family, Cisneros takes us on a journey from Mexico City to Chicago, and San Antonio.

I tend to breeze through books rather quickly, but with Caramelo, I took much longer than usual; savoring the writing. Described  as an “epic Chicana novel,” it deals with the formation of young female identity and issues of class, race, gender, language, family and the straddling of two cultures. The story is something I could relate to, as someone with a large extended immigrant family.

However, if you prefer plot driven novels, this might be a tough read. There is no single narrative and towards the end you may be left wondering, that’s it? I was okay with that simply because I love Sandra Cisneros. With prose so beautiful that it’s almost musical, she is one of my favorite writers. Her way of describing even the most routine things makes me wish I could create something so entirely beautiful.

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