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Brides and Sinners in El Chuco (06 Edition)


Brides and Sinners in El Chuco (06 Edition) Cover

ISBN13: 9780816524921
ISBN10: 0816524920
Condition: Student Owned
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Publisher Comments:

Brides have their dreams, sinners their secrets, but sometimes its not so easy to tell them apart. In the border town of El Paso—better known to its Mexican American residents as El Chuco—dramas unfold in humdrum households every day as working-class men come home from their jobs and as their wives and children do their best to cope with life. Christine Granados now plumbs the heart of this community in fourteen startling stories, uncovering the dreams and secrets in which ordinary people sometimes lose themselves. Many fictional accounts of barrio life play up tradition and nostalgia; Brides and Sinners in El Chuco is a trip to the darker side. Here are memories of growing up in a place where innocence is always tempered by reality—true-to-life stories, told in authentic language, of young women, from preteens to twenty-somethings, learning to negotiate their way through troubled times and troubled families. In the award-winning story “The Bride,” a young girl recalls her sister as a perennial bride on Halloween, planning for her eventual big day in a pink notebook with lists of potential husbands, only to see her dream thwarted at the junior prom. In another, we meet Bobbi, the class slut, whose D-cup chest astounds the other girls and entices everyone—even those who shouldnt be tempted. Granados tales boldly portray womens struggle for solidarity in the face of male abuse, and as these characters come to grips with self-discovery, sibling rivalry, and dysfunctional relationships, she shows what it means for Chicanas to grow up in protective families while learning to survive in the steamy border environment. Brides and Sinners in El Chuco is an uncompromising look at life with all its hard edges—told with enough softness to make readers come back for more.

About the Author

Christine Granados was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. She is a stay-at-home mother of two sons and works as a freelance journalist. She graduated from the School of Communications, University of Texas, El Paso, and she has an MFA in creative writing from Texas State University, San Marcos.

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olivasdan, October 16, 2006 (view all comments by olivasdan)

Book Review

By Daniel Olivas

In this gritty yet often comical debut collection, Christine Granados offers sharp, honest portraits of the people who cobble together decidedly unglamorous lives in El Paso known as ?El Chuco? by its Mexican American inhabitants. Granados sets the tone with the first story, ?The Bride,? where the narrator recounts her older sister?s dream to have a wedding like the ones pictured in glossy bride magazines:

?Rochelle was obsessed. Because all these ridiculous magazines never listed mariachis or dollar dances, she decided her wedding was going to have a string quartet, no bajo, horns, or anything, no dollar dance, and it was going to be in October. . . . I wasn?t going to tell her there is no ?elegance? to autumn in El Paso.?

Despite such planning and dreaming, Rochelle?s ?perfect? wedding gives way to tarnished, unplanned reality that she unblinkingly accepts.

Granados?s women sometime prefer familiar abuse over healthy, mutually fulfilling relationships. In ?Comfort,? Courtney has a history of dating men who beat and degrade her. But when her new boyfriend, Eliseo, fails to follow this pattern, she grows bored: ?Respect. Something every girl wanted but didn?t really need. What Courtney wanted was passion.? She decides to push Eliseo to the breaking point, make him lose control, by needling him and challenging his manhood. Similarly, in ?Love Web,? a receptionist falls for the office?s womanizer and willingly accepts sexual degradation just to be part of his life. These two women believe they are control of their private lives, and in many respects they are no matter how misguided they may seem. Granados allows her audience to understand how they got to this place without preaching about the importance of self-respect. In other words, she trusts the intelligence of her readers to come to their own conclusions.

Not all of Granados?s women suffer at the hands of men. In ?Small Time,? a mother forces her daughter to learn how to scam department stores by ?returning? stolen merchandise. And in ?Inner View,? a young woman cannot escape the inept and unintentionally humorous meddling of her family as she tries to interview for a well-paying paralegal position. But in neither of these stories does Granados implore us to pity these women because, in the end, they do not pity themselves.

Granados is a gifted writer who refuses to sugarcoat the lives of her characters. These stories are potent little portraits of brides and sinners who struggle through ordinary lives propelled by nothing more than a vague hope for something better. Granados is a writer to watch. [This review first appeared in La Bloga.]
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Product Details

University of Arizona Press
Granados, Christine
Short Stories (single author)
Young women
Problem families
Literature-A to Z
General Fiction
Edition Description:
Camino del Sol
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Archaeology » General

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Product details 136 pages University of Arizona Press - English 9780816524921 Reviews:
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