cover image Chingona: Owning Your Inner Badass for Healing and Justice

Chingona: Owning Your Inner Badass for Healing and Justice

Alma Zaragoza-Petty. Broadleaf, $22.99 (204p) ISBN 978-1-5064-8318-4

The Red Couch podcaster Zaragoza-Petty blends memoir and self-help in her astute debut about finding resilience in one’s life story. The author, who is of Mexican American heritage, aims to reappropriate the derogatory term chingona (“a woman who is too aggressive or difficult or out of control”) and help readers achieve “authentic healing and growth.” “Before we can heal, we need to remember,” she says, and to that end she uses autobiography as a springboard to explore how to embrace “authenticity” and one’s “inner chingona.” She recounts moving from L.A. to live with her grandparents in Acapulco, Mexico, when she was four years old while her mother worked in the U.S., reuniting with her mother four years later in L.A. and joining a gang before a school counselor intervened. The author credits the Catholic church she attended as a child for instilling in her a passion for social justice through community charity drives and sermons about the unity of God’s children. She counsels readers to embrace their histories and draw strength from “wounds of our past and present.” Zaragoza-Petty’s compassion shines, and her incisive account of her life provides sharp observations on what it’s like to grow up as the child of immigrants in the U.S. The result is a wise volume on discovering oneself. (Nov.)