Fifteen Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and Other Quinceaera Stories

Adriana Lopez, Editor . Rayo $14.95 (332p) ISBN 978-0-06-124192-5

T he quinceañera celebration, with its crowds of admiring family and friends focused on a 15-year-old Latina as she officially comes of age, often evokes wistful, reverential memories—the priest's blessing, the quinceañera's “court” members in their elaborate matching gowns, the opening slow dance of the “quince” with her father. The stories in this collection, however, recall different sorts of memories: a father who's out on parole; the lesbian mother who beds her daughter's boyfriend; the horny bad boys smoking doobies in the parking lot; the drunks in tuxedos puking in the bushes; the former girlfriends catfighting on the dance floor. Instead of sentimentalizing the Hispanic family and the sacred quinceañera, these 15 authors (a third of whom are men) take off the white gloves and talk about what goes on in real families. They talk about not having a “quince” because their families were too poor or their mamis too liberated. They talk about dysfunctional relatives and getting wretchedly drunk at parties and falling in love with the wrong people—just like everyone else in this world. Lopez, writer and former editor of Críticas magazine, writes in her introduction that the stories she's selected are “linked by humor, sadness, and a lot of self-discovery.” Many readers—especially 20 or 30-somethings—will find the honesty liberating. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/07/2007
Release date: 06/01/2007
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-144098-4
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-186020-1
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