Pages: Paper Back
Publisher: Coffee Town Press
Reviewer: Virginia Armstrong
Gabriela andThe Widow. The story begins with Gabriela, a fourteen-year-old Mixteca from Mexico, as she and her mother journey on foot through the war-torn country. (Okay, for those of you like me, who do not know what Mixteca means, Wikipedia defines it as indigenous Mesoamerican peoples inhabiting the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Puebla). After her mother passes away, Gabriela finds herself lost and alone without anyone to tell her what to do. The next few years takes you through her life as she goes from one despicable situation to the next until she finally arrives in El Norte.
Enter the Widow. La Viuda is an eccentric ninety-two year old woman desperately trying to capture her past on paper. Having saved everything from hair and nail clippings to letters and photos, she is determined to put together “The List”.
Together, Gabriela and La Viuda work daily on “The List”, the widow traveling down memory lane as Gabriela records the details. Life, to La Viuda, is filled with nothing but betrayal and deception. As she retells her stories, Gabriela begins to share in the memories, experiencing them as if they were her own. After La Viuda ninety-third birthday, the widow passes away, leaving her estate to Gabriela. Having the means to do whatever she desires, Gabriela seeks revenge on all those who have hurt her.
I found Gabrielaand The Widow to be well written, giving a terrific sense for the characters and locations. I particularly did not like this book as it went against my own personal beliefs. That does not mean to say others will not enjoy it. As for content, I felt it lacked substance, the entire story essentially about past acts of sex and betrayal, and males being nothing more than a mistake. Throughout the book, Gabriela and the Widow communicate in different languages, sometimes leaving the reader out of the conversation. The ending comes as a twisted surprise, Gabriela changing from an innocent girl to a vengeful warrior inflicting pain on those who have harmed her. Again, the book was well written, putting the reader right there in the room with the characters.