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Jesusita is the story of immigrants—legal and illegal—trying to survive in California in the years after World War II. Jesusita, alone and impoverished, struggles to keep her four young children together. Though she finds support from Padre Montes at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church, her faith won’t solve her problems, especially those with her daughter, Paulina. Far from home, Filipino laborers are denied by law any contact with white women. Angie, the young daughter of an illiterate and unmarried mother, knows only one way to make money. And Felix, abandoned by his mother and separated from his only brother, is placed in a foster home on an isolated ranch. The interrelated lives of these people provide a complex, sometimes violent, and often tragic image of American poverty within the nation’s postwar boom.
I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.
Jesusita is a Mexican immigrant whose husband died and left her with four children, no money, no job, and no home. She does all she can to provide them with food and shelter but she has a dark side. No matter what happens, she believes it is not her fault. This novel is heart rending. At the beginning, I felt so sorry for Jesusita but, as it progressed, it was difficult to relate to her because she is obviously mentally ill.
All of the characters are well developed and Ronald L. Ruiz does a good job of describing their lives in the harsh conditions for immigrants post World War II. I’d like to think things are better now, but I really don’t know. I would hope that someone like Jesusita would be able to get help nowadays. But Angie, who ended up being a prostitute, would probably end up in a similar situation today.
This is definitely a book I would recommend. Because of the abuse and some of the story lines I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers.
Praise for the work of Ronald L. Ruiz:
“The sparse, simple prose lets the story tell itself… The supporting characters are briefly but fully drawn… Few readers will be able to forget the chilling experiences of a forlorn hero who’s destined to take his place next to Bigger Thomas (of Richard Wright’s Native Son) in the honor roll of seminal characters in American literature.”
–Publishers Weekly (featured review) on Happy Birthday Jesús
After reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment at the age of 17, I knew I wanted to be a writer. But I knew nothing about the craft. My first novel, Happy Birthday Jesús, was published 36 years later. Surprisingly, it received good reviews
For many years, I was a criminal defense attorney and at the end of my career a prosecutor, but I always managed to find time to write. What I saw and experienced during those years often serves as a basis for my writing. For me, learning how to write has been a long, continuous and, at times, torturous process.
Now retired, I try to write every day and I feel fortunate that I have found something in writing that sustains me. I’m glad I persevered during all those years of rejection. More than anything, writing about what I see and experience in life has given me a sense of worth.
Win 1 of 10 of any of the author’s signed books (choose from his 5 titles)
1 $30 Amazon gift card (international)
Author: Gillian Felix
Genre: New Adult
Publication Date: July 25, 2013
Adriana Banovic’s 15th birthday sucked! She got fired after eight years of playing Shayanne Montgomery on the #1 soap in the country, found out that her family was on the verge of bankruptcy and worst of all, forced to return to Westwood Academy. Her only saving grace was a chance glance at dreamy mystery boy Haze Lyndon. Armed with only his picture and a determination to find him—even if it means turning Los Angeles over on its ass.
In this new adult novel you’ll meet Robin Banovic, Adriana’s father; financially challenged, dealing with the death of a family member and his brother’s disappearance. You’ll meet Savannah DaCosta aka Savi, mother/manager; Savi enjoys the life her rock star daughter Leighann has provided. When Leighann makes a choice to end her career, Savi sees it as a personal attack. You’ll meet college boy Haze Lyndon; New to Los Angeles, Haze soon realizes how quickly money changes hands in the City of Angels. Will he return to questionable ways to survive or go back to the safety of his family in Wisconsin?
This novel is NOT for children, it contains strong language, reference to drug use and sexual situations, this novel is meant for mature teens and adults.
Changes is a good book as far as it goes. There are a lot of characters whose paths eventually cross and it’s a little difficult keeping them all straight at first, but by the middle of the book I was able to keep track.
I like Gillian Felix’s writing style. It’s easy to read and it flows well.
I recommend Changes but I would wait until Vol. 2 is out before reading this one. It’s basically an introduction to a series, as noted by the author below, and it ends just as things begin to happen.
You can purchase it on Amazon.