Flirting in Spanish: What Mexico Taught Me About Love, Living and Forgiveness

Susan McKinney De Ortega, Author
Susan McKinney De Ortega. Antaeus (Ingram, dist.), $14 trade paper (244p) ISBN 978-0-9828591-9-3
Reviewed on: 06/06/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
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Running from paralyzing memories of an attempted rape and the decade of silence and shame that followed, Ortega lands in Mexico at 32, trying not to fall for a much younger local. In 1992 the author, the daughter of champion NBA coach Jack McKinney, was teaching English to Mexican teenagers when she met 19-year-old Carlos, who ardently pursues her despite the age and huge cultural differences. She resists at first, due to their divergent backgrounds—Ortega's childhood was one of summer vacation rentals and white gloves at Mass, while Carlos was a high school dropout who didn't have running water until age 10. But when she realizes that she is surprised a man could be kind to her like her father, "I didn't feel like a nervous wreck of a person anymore." It's not an instant happy ending as Ortega contends with the extreme poverty Carlos and his family live in, the machismo culture, and her own lingering doubts, with one foot in Mexico and the other wavering. When she finally achieves hard-won contentment, it's a joyous moment. (Aug.)
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