cover image The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez

The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez

John Rechy. Arcade Publishing, $19.95 (206pp) ISBN 978-1-55970-115-0

Sexually abused by her drunken father, twice-divorced Amalia Gomez lives with her two rebellious teenage chidren, Juan and Gloria, in the decaying, gang-ridden outskirts of Hollywood. Rechy ( Marilyn's Daughter ), himself Mexican American, probes the dark underside of the American dream in this powerful portrait of one day in the life of a Mexican American woman and her shattered family. Amalia's battered girlhood in El Paso, Tex., and her relationships with husbands who abandoned or raped her come alive via extended flashbacks. Transplanted to California, she pretends that she's married to her live-in lover Raynaldo. Pious, she sees holy signs everywhere, torn by grief over Manny, her firstborn son who died in prison, possibly murdered by guards. Shattering revelations at the book's close concern homosexuality and sexual abuse under her roof. Rechy scorchingly evokes the prejudice faced by Mexican Americans and other minorities, the poverty, gang warfare, illegal border crossings and visions of salvation amid hopelessness. (Sept.)