In Loving Memory of Michele Serros

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In 2007, I moved back home from college in the middle of the semester because my mom had cancer. At the same time, I was losing “friends” and some of them also made fun of me for being too “white washed.” This was a hard time for me, because I felt like I was losing everything, my friends, my mother, my identity.  I never felt so alone before. During this time, I did what I always do. I tried to find solace at a bookstore. While I was there, I did something that was radical for my personality at the time; I went to the “Hispanic literature” section. That’s when I saw a title that stuck out to me: Chicana Falsa. I was in the middle of the bookstore laughing, and looking around to make sure no one was looking. I had this gut feeling, if I walked out of that bookstore without that book I was going to regret it. So I bought the book, and it became the book that changed my life for the better. Michele Serros helped me piece together the broken pieces of my identity. Chicana Falsa became my best friend, when I barely had any friends. I can’t imagine any other book doing what this book did for me.

I found her on myspace and contacted her. I told her I found her book, and I couldn’t wait to one day meet her at one of her book signings. She responded jokingly: Why wait? I’ll see you at your next family barbeque (not exactly but something along those lines). We communicated every now and again, from my initial message to her. Then in 2010, I wrote her a letter explaining why her book meant so much to me, and asked her to come speak at my school. She agreed. A few days before she came to my school, she tried to prank call me. She called my phone saying I had an overdue ticket for an expired license plate tag.  However, the prank failed because I didn’t have a car. We laughed about it and talked for a few minutes.  Then a few days later, she came to my school. I wore a green jacket, which reminded her of Lindsay Weir from Freaks and Geeks. So she nicknamed me Lindsay. I wasn’t Cristina anymore. I was Lindsay. She treated me like we had been best friends for years, even though it was our first meeting.

Honestly, I can’t articulate everything I want to say about her in a few measly  lines. This isn’t the first time I have tried to write something up about her, and post it publicly. My messy online scribbles will never capture the amazing person she was and howc much her books meant to me…how much SHE meat to me. For now, all I can do is hope she is resting in peace and power.

I want to wrap this up with two links: one to her facebook page and the other to her giveforward campaign. Please, if you can donate to help Michele Serro’s family.

I’d also like to end with this video:

I haven’t stopped crying, since I found out she passed away. I didn’t bother editing this. I’m sure there are a ton of grammar mistakes here, but I really don’t care.

I’ve always done my best to respect Michele’s wishes. This is why I am using the photograph her husband posted on facebook. In the past, she asked me to keep the photos I have take with her for my own personal collection. Thus, I am not posting them.

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Las Hijas de Juan by Josie Mendez-Negrete

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Trigger Warnings For this book and Post include: Domestic abuse, violence against mujeres, incest, and rape.

This text was a really rough read, because of the topic. It’s about these girls who grow up with an abusive father.  It starts out with how their parents met and fell in love and it slowly and gradually turns into one of silence. Silence in the sense that, no one talked about what was happening.

**Slight Spoiler**

This book is great, because it doesn’t end with the dad getting caught. Instead, it takes a new turn. It’s a story about how Josie survived her father’s abuse. She talks about how it affected her life afterwards, which isn’t a kind of story I’ve ever come across before.

**End of Slight Spoiler**

 

As far as the writing goes, it is well written and the author is not afraid to take you into the place she had to live through. For those who have never lived this kind of life, I think it’s important to read. It’s a true testament to why rape jokes aren’t funny.

The author says it best, when she writes:

With Las Hijas de Juan I did not intentionally go about exposing my father’s contempt for women, something that seemed to come from his primordial self, as I had not been exposed to such violence among my k in. Rather, with this book I set out to reveal the social power vested in my father by a society that sanctions or, at best ignores men’s violence against women and children. His treatment of us remained hidden in a culture that still collides with the reproduction of domestic and sexual violence that kill children’s spirits and denigrates women even as it venerates them because of their gender.

–Josie Mendez-Negrete, Epilogue: Purging the Skeletons, Bone by Bone, p. 185.

You can find her book here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1717119.Las_hijas_de_Juan

Purchase it Here:

http://www.amazon.com/Las-hijas-Juan-Daughters-Otherwise/dp/0822338963/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1398289351&sr=8-1

 

 

Old Review from a different blog, with some minor editing.

I’m lucky I can talk to my favorite writer, whenever I want.

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How many people are lucky enough to say their favorite writer gave them a nickname?

I don’t know, but I’m one of them.

The first time we met I wore a green jacket. According to Michele Serros,  it looked like the one Linsay Weir had on Freaks and Geeks. I took it as a compliment, because I love Freaks and Geeks. Linsay Weir is cool, but Michele Serros is cooler. When Serros gives you a nickname, you take it. If she wants to call me butt face, I’d smile happily.

CLICK HERE CLICK HERE!! 😀

Read her latest article, entitled “An Unexpected Heirloom” on Huffingtonpost now!.