Of Women and Salt book review


BOOK REVIEW (my humble thoughts)   #ofwomenandsalt #latinxbooks

I read Of Women and Salt in 2021 with my local book club, but this year, the Latinx group at work asked me to lead a book discussion for the Hispanic Heritage Month, so I re-read it.

"Maybe if I had a way of seeing all the past, all the paths, maybe I’d have some answer as to why: Why did our lives turn out this way?"⁠⁠


There's a lot of ground covered in this short novel. We start in 2018 in Miami, where a desperate mother is reflecting on the secrets she has kept from her daughter, and wondering if her actions are the reason why her daughter became an opioid addict.⁠⁠


The narrative then jumps back to 1866 in Cuba, where Maria Isabel is the only woman working in a cigar factory. Like most of the workers, she doesn't know how to read, but enjoys listening to one of the employees as he reads from Victor Hugo and other authors (an old tradition in Cuban cigar factories... what we now call audiobooks?).⁠⁠


Miami 2014 : Jeanette sees her neighbor being taken away by ICE. The neighbor's 9 yr old daughter arrives from school later in the afternoon and has no clue where her mom is. 
What would you do? 
Call the cops?⁠⁠
Invite the girl in and keep her for a few days in the hopes her mom will return?⁠⁠
Call her school? 
Do nothing?⁠⁠
Jeanette feels terrible about the girl, but her mother reminds her "she's not our problem".⁠⁠


See what I meant? A lot of issues are covered in this novel:⁠⁠

➡️ 4 different countries⁠⁠

➡️ Immigration issues⁠⁠

➡️ Opioid crisis⁠⁠

➡️ Domestic abuse⁠⁠

➡️ Racism / Colorism⁠⁠

The cherry on top for me was how Garcia was able to demonstrate with precision how the idea that Latinos function as one unified body is completely wrong. ⁠⁠

We don't. Never have. We need to change that. ⁠⁠

Overall, a tour-de-force debut novel about women and the secrets that haunt them. Beautifully written and an author that I'll keep my eye on going forward.⁠⁠

"We are force.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁠⁠