Amado Women by Desiree Zamorano
When I finished this book, I immediately hugged it. Kind of ridiculous I know, but it felt necessary because the book ended so completely and so powerfully I felt like that was the only way to release all the emotions pent up in me. Amado Women is the Latina’s Waiting to Exhale. Much like that book showed the ups and downs of both womanhood and being black, this book shows the ups and downs of being a woman and Latino. The writing style is addictive, having an almost perfect rhythm. It’s sparse where it needs to be and knows exactly when to deliver its punches.
The book centers around the women of the Amado clan. There’s Mercy, the recently divorced mother who is beautiful in so many ways but harbors far too much guilt and pain. The oldest child, Celeste, who is successful in her career and has the finances to back it up. But in the eyes of her youngest sister, Nataly, that success has made her cold and distant. Nataly is a starving artist who doesn’t quite seem to know where she’s going in life despite knowing exactly what she wants. Then there is the middle child, Sylvia. She’s the only one of her sisters with children (two daughters) and is trying to navigate her way out of an abusive marriage.
There are men in the novel and how they relate to the women is a part of the story, but the author avoids making the men the central to these women’s lives. They’re there and they are important, but how these daughters and their Mother relate to one another is where the heart of the story lies. If I have to say, I think the story of Mercy is the most powerful one in the entire novel to me. I’m a momma’s boy so I’m always a sucker for a good mom overcoming in a story and that’s exactly what Mercy does. What the author really excelled at in writing Mercy was showing her children that their Mother was only human. It’s a lesson that we kids don’t really learn until we’re much older and I think there will always be a part of us that still thinks they’re invincible anyway.
Sylvia’s story arc is a delicate one because it tackles the very controversial and sticky subject of domestic abuse. The author doesn’t get into gory details, but the emotions of Sylvia on display as she goes through this is enough to horrify you. She doesn’t shy away from the unfortunate role that children sometimes play in domestic abuse and the shame and resentments that crop up from that. There’s a lot of pain to be dealt with here, but the author does bring it up to a satisfying resolution.
This novel has all the trappings of a late-night soap opera with all the tragic reality of everyday life. It’s a roller coaster, but if you don’t read this book for ANY other reason then please read it to get to the end. I promise you that you’ll get to the end and smile. There’s just no way around it. How this story concludes is reason enough to pick up this book. I hugged that book because it was the only way I could hug those characters.