I just finished crying after having come to the end of Belinda Acosta’s surprisingly touching chick lit novel, Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz.
When I first picked up this book, I assumed the story would be from the perspective of the girl, and that her name was Ana Ruiz, but Ana Ruiz is the mother and she is going through much more than just organizing a quinceañera for her ungrateful daughter, Carmen.
Ana’s twenty year marriage to Esteban is falling apart, and Carmen who is a “Daddy’s girl”, wrongfully blames Ana for kicking him out, (not knowing what her father has done.)
Ana decides to throw her daughter a quinceañera as a way of bonding with her, but Carmen is disrespectful and unappreciative from the get go.
Aside from her exploding home life, she also has new pressures at work. The university she works for has hired a new world famous artist and part of Ana’s job is to try to woo him into a permanent teaching position. The trouble is that the very handsome and charming artist is trying to woo Ana into a relationship.
Belinda Acosta’s writing style will make any Spanish-English bilingual smile with pleasure as she unapologetically sprinkles Spanish words and phrases into the text, even outside of dialogue. It is the way many Latinos living in the United States speak and think, so it’s refreshing to see it in print.
I did not expect to be as moved as I was by the relationships between the characters. Acosta makes you really care about this little family, and you can’t help but identify with Ana’s struggles as a wife, mother, and as a woman.