Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My First Book Review, "If I Die In Juarez"

Everyone who has read my blog knows I love my city, El Paso, and it's fine food and customs. I was born and raised here. Even though I've traveled to other parts, here is where my heart resides. I've always associated food with family, culture, and all the wonderful things that surround our everyday lives. But sometimes we come across circumstances in our communities that need to be brought to the forefront regardless of how bad or how sad they makes us feel. With this in mind, I hope all of you reading this blog today will indulge me the transgression of steering away from my typical food posting and understand why I felt compelled to bring this review (my first ever) to this readership. I will post my customary food article in another day or two...I promise.

Book Review: If I Die In Juarez, by Stella Pope Duarte

I finished reading this book last night and it filled me with a sense of dread knowing that my 18-year-old daughter sometimes goes to Juarez with her friends. It also left me with a feeling of wanting to put up my dukes and go to Juarez to seek out every murderous scumbag I could lay my hands on and give him a taste of his own medicine.

Stella Pope Duarte tells a riveting tale. It is a work of fiction based on real-life circumstances of three young girls in Juarez – the big city. Evita comes from a broken home from the prostitute area of the city. Petra comes from a small village near the mountains and ends up working in a maquiladora. Mayela is a young Tarahumara Indian girl with natural born artistic talent. She was called Niñita Frida.

The lives of these three young girls, and their families, are affected by the feminicide murders occurring in Juarez. The book brings the reader into the horrific details of what is expected of young maquiladora working women, of young girls growing up in the red light district trying to survive, and how these young women are exploited for money.

They try to survive everyday life while living in fear. Fear of the murderous women-haters, fear of the police who often take bribes, mordidas, to look away, and fear of God, praying that they be forgiven for doing whatever it takes to feed and protect their families.

All young women in Juarez dream of a better life, but they are often expected to pay for these dreams with their lives. Stella Pope Duarte describes their strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, hopes, and disappointments in vivid detail.

Prepare yourself for a disturbing ride along the Juarez / El Paso Border as you read the heartbreaking tales of three young girls growing up in Juarez during the Maquiladora murders.

[The Juarez feminicide murders continue to this day. Hundreds of women continue to be found raped, tortured, and murdered in the desert area outside Juarez. Women’s groups from Juarez, Mexico City, Los Angeles and El Paso work hard to protest the lack of interest and lack of investigation by Mexican federal and judicial officials. Though the recent drug cartel wars and assassinations in and around Juarez have caused the media to switch their reporting focus, they will never overshadow the Maquiladora Murders. Feminicide must come to an end.]

Teresa Cordero Cordell
© 2008

If you would like to read more about the maquiladora murders and about the brave women fighting to put a stop to feminicide , click on the links below. Thank you.


Adam said...

Wow, that book sounds really gripping. It's a shame that things like that continue to happen, but at least a book like this brings it to the forefront. When I get some spare reading time, I'll def have to check it out.

The Kitchen Vixen said...

What a heartbreaking tragedy. Thanks for sharing this book, and the review.

Sophie said...

I really like the fact that you put a book review on your food blog, that is a great idea. I love to read AND cook, so it's a great combo. Definitely keep this up! :)

I've never been to Juarez, sadly (even though I'm only a few hours away here in TX). I've yet to go to Mexico even though my great grandmother is still alive over there. One way that I try to stay connected with my family and culture is with cooking; but as I mentioned earlier, I still have a lot I need to work on with the tortillas :D.

Cheryl said...

Teresa, I've read about the situation in Juarez in the paper and understand fully why you want to publicize this ongoing tragedy more broadly. Sounds like an important book.

Tell your daughter to be safe.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Thanks for sharing that with us - you are right there are certain things that just need to be shared with the community at large. Like Sophie I love reading as much as cooking, so this is a great feature!

Janet said...

I have not been to Juarez, but I have been to Mexico a few times. Even though this book tells a tragic tale it sounds quite interesting and I think I just might read it. Thanks for sharing this book review.

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