cover image Las Mamis: Favorite Latino Authors Remember Their Mothers

Las Mamis: Favorite Latino Authors Remember Their Mothers

Esmeralda Santiago / Editor, Joie Davidow / Editor Alfred A. K

For this collection of well-wrought literary snapshots, Santiago (When I Was Puerto Rican) and Davidow (founding editor of S magazine) have gathered reminiscences from 14 accomplished Latino authors, including Mandalit del Barco, Il n Stavans and Francisco Goldman. Since the present generation of Latino writers had mothers who were almost always working women, many contemporary Latino authors have claimed that their cultural education came from their grandmothers. Thus this anthology also affords an intriguing glimpse of an often overlooked generation of Latinas. Dominican Junot D az describes his family as ""Section Eight, los c pones, AFDC all the way,"" with his single ""moms"" keeping them alive. D az was a rebel and well on the way to total dissolution, when he discovered ""she was a person and not just somebody who washed my underwear and cooked my meals. She had a world inside of her."" At the other end of the economic spectrum, Mar a Ampara Escand n describes her mother's shopping obsession, which took the family from Mexico City to Houston twice a year. Marjorie Agos n writes poetically of a Chilean mother who told her children, ""I have lived among the dead and among memories that tell only of the dead,"" while Chicano novelist Dagoberto Gilb describes how he informed his mother of his transformation from construction worker to award-winning novelist only when she was on her deathbed. From rich mamis to poor ones, loving to relentless, this collection of essays eloquently captures the diversity of Latino culture while paying tribute to its most enduring characteristic: amor a madre. Includes photos of each contributor's mother. (Apr.)