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Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz by Belinda Acosta (final thoughts)

May 6, 2010

Ana’s husband recently moved out and, understandably, neither of her teenaged kids are too happy about it. However, daddy’s-girl Carmen, is convinced that Ana is to blame for everything that has gone wrong and won’t pass up an opportunity to express her opinion. Ana is torn between setting the record straight and protecting her little girl from what Esteban has done. All she wants is to have her loving daughter back. In attempt to bridge the gap between then, Ana decides to throw Carmen a quinceañera for her upcoming 15th birthday, hoping that planning it will bring them back together.

As if family drama isn’t enough, there’s something brewing at work, too. The Latino artist that the university Ana works for has been courting for some time has finally arrived. The moment Montalvo sets foot on campus he has all the women swooning. However, he has set his sights on one person in particular – Ana. But where does Ana stand?

When I first picked up Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz, I thought I was in for a YA book. I’m not sure why, maybe it was the cover? Maybe something I read elsewhere? However, it quickly became apparent that the book was not about the angsty teenaged girl, but that girl’s mother. I had been on a YA kick for a little while, so it was actually refreshing to read a story from an adult’s perspective.

I’ll be the first to admit that my knowledge of Latino culture is pretty much limited to Selena, so I really enjoyed reading about the traditions of this Texan family. Acosta’s writing is sprinkled with terms and expressions that give the book a great Latino flavour. Actually, there’s much more than just a sprinkling of Spanish in there. At first I found the large amount of unknown words distracting, but jumping out of the story every couple sentences to look up meanings was even more distracting. What the words implied was usually evident in the context, so after a while I just let them slide and became much more drawn into the story than when I was hung up on exact definitions. However, having a working knowledge of Spanish would likely increase your enjoyment of the book.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz as much as I did, but I found myself really caring for Ana and what she was going through. I think that was partly due to type of storytelling used by Acosta, which was a little different than what I’m used to. It took me a little while to get used to (probably as long as it took to get used to all the Spanish), but it really added to the charm of the novel.

Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz is the beginning of a new series by Acosta, and I will definitely be checking out the next installment when it comes out.

My rating: 7.75/10

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2010 8:41 pm

    sounds like a quick and fun read! i haven’t read this one but it sounds promising. i can speak basic spanish so maybe i’ll have an easier go at this one. :)

  2. May 7, 2010 3:21 pm

    I thought it was going to be YA as well. I didn’t find the Spanish distracting. I was able to figure it out from the context.

  3. May 12, 2010 12:23 pm

    Ah! I took seven years of Spanish and, though I’m usually too nervous to bust out that knowledge with native speakers, it comes in handy for books like this. I would have thought this was YA, too, maybe because of the meantion of the quinceañera on the cover. Glad you enjoyed it! Sounds like a fun read, and sometimes the drama makes for good times!

  4. May 13, 2010 7:14 pm

    Sounds like a fun read- I’ll add it to my list :)

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