Synopsis: Chippie Pablo, is a third generation Mexican-American growing up in southern Appalachia during the late 1970s. Times are hard for Chippie’s family. They face prejudice and poverty while they struggle with internal battles, but it’s tragedy that threatens to rip her family, her world, apart.
For my extra credit class I took Spanish. That night when Daddy was sitting at the table, having his coffee, I went into my room and took my schedule out of my tablet. I held it for a moment; imagining the day when I would speak Spanish as well as I spoke English, when I could speak the language my family hadn’t used in eighty years. I stepped back through the kitchen door and eased into a chair at the table.
“What are you grinning about, Sis?”
“Daddy,” I laid the paper on the table in front of me, even though I knew he couldn’t read it. “I’m going to learn how to speak Spanish.”
“What’re you talking about?”
“Mexican, Daddy. I’m going to speak Mexican just like Great-Grandpa did.”
Daddy set his coffee down and gritted his teeth. “Sissy…” he shook his head.
I didn’t understand what the problem was. I fumbled with my paper, drawing it closer to myself.
“You don’t understand. We been treated like colored folks my whole life. I want better than that for you kids. That’s why we don’t speak Mexican. I don’t want you speaking Mexican just like Momma’s people didn’t want me speaking it when I was little. My Uncle Henry spanked me for saying words I heard from Grandpa until I learned the difference. I forgot them Mexican words. Forgot every one of them and here you are wanting to go dig them up again.”
My Thoughts: Man oh Man can this author write. I really felt like I was sitting at the table with Chippie, see what she saw. You can tell she was writing from the heart. She draws you in and you can almost feel what this family is feeling. She paints a true and accurate picture of Appalachia and what life was like for people living in rural Kentucky. Even though I was born and raised in Kentucky it was an eye opener to see this part of my state. This books tugs at your heart and keeps you thinking. Rich and Beautiful writing,
Rating 4.5 out of 5