Suzannaby Irene I. Blea, Yasmeen Namazie, Roberto Cabello-Argandona
At the time when young girls quickly grew up to become old women, young Suzanna was raised by her grandparents. They received a letter from Don Felipe Montoya asking for the child's hand in marriage. Don Felipe, who was old enough to be her father agrees to the abuelito's condition that he delays the wedding until she becomes a woman, or until her thirteenth birthday, which ever comes first. When the time came, the wedding took place in the northern New Mexico village church on a weekday with only the abuelitos in attendance. Thus, Suzanna became isolated on Don Felipe's deteriorating prairie-ranch with her home-made rag doll, Cleotilda as her only friend. In two years Suzanna gives birth to two sons. The remoteness of the ranch is made worse by drought, failing live stock, Don Felipe's silence, sternness, and sexual appetite. Economic hardship forces Felipe to seek work elsewhere. During his two-year absence, Suzanna successfully tends the farm, bonds with the two boys and wishes her husband never returns. He arrives to announce they are moving. Suzanna does not want to move, ensuing a conflict permeated by gender and cultural clashes, inequality, violence and asymmetry. Suzanna toughens her emotional self, and uses her wits to resolve an untenable situation.
Dr. Irene I. Blea, the former Chairperson of the Department of Mexican American Studies at California State University-Los Angeles, is a native New Mexican born on top and the backside of a mountain. She has written of over thirty articles and seven text-books with an emphasis on Chicanos, Latinos and women. Her latest book is The Feminization of Racism: Promoting Peace in America.Her work has been referenced by researchers and used as required university classroom reading. She is an award winning scholar, a poet and a public speaker on racism and gender relations.
"Suzanna was born in northeastern New Mexico before the territory became a state. The last child of a large Hispanic family she was raised by her grandparents because her parents feared they could not afford to rear her. She was much loved in her young life, and much used and abused. As she matured, she faced prospects she could not bear. Irene Blea, a native of Northern New Mexico, and a Ph. D. in Sociology, has the writing talent to tell Suzanna's story in a most engaging way, and she leaves the reader wanting more. Suzanne is a truly outstanding first novel." -Don Bullis, Award-winning author-Historian
"Southwest literature has a powerful voice in Irene I. Blea. Her characters and story capture the soul of New Mexico. Blea's riveting story goes to the heart of Hispanic family life in territorial New Mexico, where children are passed on to richer relatives, marriages are arranged at puberty, and the spirit world mixes with daily life."-Rob Spiegel is the the author of five non-fiction books and former President of the Southwest Writers.
"A well written coming of age story of a young Spanish girl tossed into marital domesticity by her grandparents. It is filled with vividly captivating details that just entices you to read on." -Sandra C. López, Author of Esperanza: A Latina Story
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