Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz: A Quinceanera Club Novelby Belinda Acosta
All Ana Ruiz wanted was to have a traditional quinceañera for her daughter, Carmen. She wanted a nice way to mark this milestone year in her daughter's life. But Carmen was not interested in celebrating. Hurt and bitter over her father Esteban's departure, she blamed Ana for destroying their happy family, as did everyone else. A good man is hard to find,
All Ana Ruiz wanted was to have a traditional quinceañera for her daughter, Carmen. She wanted a nice way to mark this milestone year in her daughter's life. But Carmen was not interested in celebrating. Hurt and bitter over her father Esteban's departure, she blamed Ana for destroying their happy family, as did everyone else. A good man is hard to find, especially at your age Ana was told. Why not forgive his one indiscretion? Despite everything, Ana didn't want to tarnish Carmen's childlike devotion to her beloved father. But Ana knows that growing up sometimes means facing hard truths. In the end, Ana discovers that if she's going to teach Carmen anything about what it means to be a woman, it will take more than simply a fancy party to do it... "
Belinda Acosta's Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz delivers all its title promises and more: it's a book about damas of all ages, from teenage girls to the struggling mothers of those teenage girls; it's packed with drama so you don't want to stop reading; it's a novel that deeply and honestly tells the story of Ana Ruiz, her own coming of age as a woman and as a mother. Belinda Acosta is up to all of the challenges of such a rich panorama of characters and events. She's sassy, she's smart, she makes it look easy! But it takes a lot of hard work and a pile of talent to write such an engaging, touching book. A wonderful quinceañera of a novel!"
Julia Alvarez, author of Once Upon a Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA and Return to Sender"
Lively and perceptive... Acosta empathically captures the innermost feelings of her characters."
"Lively and perceptive... Acosta empathically captures the innermost feelings of her characters."Booklist
"Simply put, Belinda !se aventó! She has gone all out in giving an emotional, spiritual, and feminine Latina perspective of how it is and what it is to grow up in the US Hispanic culture."Examiner.com
"Well written, effortlessly utilizing two languages, giving the unaware English reader a lesson in the Spanish language and Hispanic culture, Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz will prove to be "the first prick into the cloth to embroider something big and complicated" in a series of Quinceañera Club Novels. Big, yes! Complicated, only in the sense that cultures are intricate as humans are wondrous beings, as well as curious."Examiner.com
"[Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz] is a book that smartly and deftly explores questions of family relationships as well as cultural identity....Belinda [Acosta] seamlessly weaves Spanish and Spanglish into her prose, giving the novel a lively and authentic voice."ShelfLife@Texas, The University of Texas
"Acosta perceptively delves into the turmoil in which this family finds itself by examining it from multiple viewpoints.... Celeste's quinceañera becomes the glue that holds this family together as she discovers the loving support group she never knew she had."Booklist on SISTERS, STRANGERS, AND STARTING OVER
- Grand Central Publishing
- Publication date:
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Meet the Author
Belinda Acosta has written and published plays, short stories, and essays. As a journalist, her work has appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, The Austin Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, The San Antonio Current, and AlterNet. Her short story Tortilla Dough appeared in Saguaro, a publication of the University of Arizona in 1992. In 1993, she produced, directed and performed in a multi-media dance-theater performance of La Llorona. National exposure came in 1995 when she read her personal essay Gran Baile, on Latino USA - the Radio Journal of News and Culture, carried on National Public Radio.
Acosta received a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from The University of Texas in 1997. She lives in Austin, Texas and is the TV and media columnist for The Austin Chronicle.
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This book was awesome i was on edge the whole time.
Reviewed by: Sandra L. Rating: 5 stars Review: The first thing that grabbed my attention was the writing style. It brings you back to the days of Mexican gatherings filled with música, cerveza, y carne asada with a telenovela blaring in the background. I especially liked how the author sprinkled in Spanish throughout the story like chile over brown rice—it definitely gave it that extra kick. It was almost like the book was written in both English and Spanish; I’d say it was about 85% English and 15% Spanish. In fact, it was almost as if my abuela had told this story with her broken English and (loud) Spanish expression. The title definitely served the story well. This was the “damas and dramas” of Ana Ruiz with the pain she suffers from a broken marriage and the devastation she endures when her daughter looks at her with hate. And all Ana wants to do it fix it, and, for some reason, she feels a quinceañera will do it. Was she crazy? Was she trying to be mean by pushing the idea? No, she was just desperate—desperate to reconnect with her daughter, Carmen, and make it like it was before. Very heartfelt—but, again, crazy! Carmen was a brat. It was unfair how she was so angry at her mom without getting all the facts straight. And why was everyone (her brother, her cousin, her tía, etc.) being so nice to her when she would just roll her eyes or snap at them with a smart-ass comment? That would frustrate anybody. I liked how Ana got all giddy and nervous around Montalvo (especially when he took his shirt off) because it showed that she was still a woman, a young girl in “mom” costume. It was great that she could see a partner in him—not as a lover, per se, even though they were painted as a compatible couple throughout the story, but as a friend who’s gone through the same thing she is. It’s true what they say: misery likes company. The plot was so well done that you can feel all the anger and pain of each character (they all have their personal demons and hidden skeletons.) It is a roller coaster ride of surprises with such a fervent impact that make the reader laugh, scream, and even throw up a little. A gripping read. One minor thing I found a bit odd at first was how the author would deviate from one character’s setting, thoughts, and dialogue, and then transition to another character’s thoughts and feelings all within the same paragraph. Additionally, the story seemed to have been told in a fortune-teller kind of way; not only do we hear the story as it happened—as it was witnessed—but we also learn of what becomes of everyone years in the future. This definitely pushed the traditional fly-on-the-wall narration, but, somehow, it worked, and a masterpiece was born through unorthodox methods.
I really enjoyed this book. Great story and with my daughter turning 15 in 2 years, well it was amusing. And i loved how it took place in my hometown so i recognized all the places.
Ana Ruiz's life is a mess. A college administrator, she is married with two teenage children, or at least that is how it appears to the outside world. But, reality is different. She and Estaban, her childhood sweetheart, have separated and it is unclear what will become of her marriage. Her daughter, Carmen, who is fourteen and a daddy's girl, blames Ana for the breakup and Ana allows her to think so, shielding her from reality. This creates a situation where Carmen is worse than most teenage girls, blaming Ana for everything and acting as if she hates her. Ana, searchinig for a way to reconnect with Carmen, decides to give her the quinceanera (a party marking a girl's transistion to womanhood) that she never got to have. Carmen grudgingly agrees to the party. As party plans go on, Ana meets a visiting artist at the college. He is charsmatic and exciting, and seems interested in Ana. This interest starts to awaken Ana from the dull deadness of what her life has become. This new interest and the resolution of several plotlines comes at the time the party occurs. I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Ana is a great heroine; smart, caring and starting to realise that no one gives you a great life; you have to go out and create it for yourself. I could definately relate to her difficulties with her teenage daughter, as that time is approaching for me as my daughter gets closer to those dramatic years. This book is recommended for readers of female literature as well as those interested in reading about how the Hispanic culture handles everyday life issues.
Ana Ruiz has her hands full as her fourteen year old daughter Carmen blames her for her dad Esteban leaving them although he cheated on her and he left. She wonders if she made a mistake hiding Esteban's affairs from Carmen and their other older child Diego. Regardless Ana desperately wants to regain what Esteban destroyed when he walked out: her closeness with Carmen. She decides to throw a quinceanera gala for her daughter, but Carmen seems disinterested; preferring to punch her mom by exclusion and omission, Ana is hurt more by Carmen's behavior than the womanizing and abandonment by Esteban. Diego plays intermediary between his wary mom and his acrimonious sis while his cousin Bianca takes over the role of quinceanera party planner. This is a well written family drama that deftly focuses on the extended Ruiz brood. Ironically the "white girl from Kansas" enhances the profound look at a Mexican-American family as she knows more about Mexican music than the Ruiz family. Carmen is angry and but holding her mom culpable while her brother guesses at the truth. Ana is superb as the prime player who feels as if her world has ended yet resolutely hides what Esteban did to her from her daughter. Fans will enjoy this drama that looks into the trials and tribulations of a Mexican-American family. Harriet Klausner
This book is about the relationship of a mother, her 14 yr.old daughter and son. The book focuses more on the mother which was a nice change. We all know how the teen years can add chaos to the relationship of a mother and daughter. Add to that a divorce that the daughter blames on the mother, and the mother won't set her straight. I love that amid all this turmoil there is humor and that the characters are so complex. There are Spanish phrases throughout the book which I loved and it introduced me to the Quinceañera, an Hispanic tradition of throwing a party for a young girl when she turns 15 and "becomes a lady". There are many moments of stress for this family, but in the end it is their love for each other that shines through. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any one wanting a mix between humor, intense family scenes and chick lit.
I have been having a hard time trying to figure out how to sum this story up - so sorry if it comes out sounding a little disjointed. Ana is coping with her husband, Esteban's unfaithfulness and the fact that he has moved out. Her 14-year-old daughter, Carmen, blames her for making her dad leave, when in reality - he is the one who moved out. Ana is trying to protect her daughter and her son, Diego, from their father's affair. When she sees the above ad, she decides that Carmen needs a traditional quinceañera - not so much for the tradition - but because she thinks it will help her and Carmen become close again. Beatriz, Ana's niece, jumps in to help with the planning - even designing the dresses that Carmen and the damas will wear. She is living with Ana and her kids as her own father is traveling for business and her mother is in a mental hospital - a fact that Beatriz is having to come to terms with on her own. Ana's son seems to be the calm, rational one when he is really as torn up as Carmen about his dad's leaving but feels his mom needs their support - especially after he starts hearing rumors about what his dad has done. So, as you can see, this is a multi-layered story with Beatriz and her mom; Ana and her daughter, Carmen; and Ana herself - and the decisions she needs to make about her future with or without Esteban. My thoughts: To be honest, I almost gave up on this book in the beginning. It had some Spanish phrases in it and I wondered how much of the meaning I was losing. But after reading a review that said the you could get enough of the gist of the Spanish phrases without knowing Spanish and still understand the book, I kept going. I am glad that I did. I really enjoyed Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz as it portrayed not just one strong woman - Ana, but a strong 'young' woman - Beatriz, and a girl becoming a woman - Carmen. I also have a daughter turning 15 in 2 1/2 weeks so can kind of see the emotions that Carmen was experiencing - and definitely get to see the drama! (a quinceañera is a celebration for a young woman when they turn 15)
Poor Ana Ruiz. A possibly soon to be divorced mother with an angry teen aged daughter has the makings of a horror novel. But instead Acosta delivers a funny, touching novel about family and tradition. Ana wants her daughter Carmen to have a quinceanera, a traditional Spanish party for girls on their fifteenth birthday. She hopes that the planning of this will bring them closer together. But Carmen resents her mother for her father's leaving and just wants him to come home. Ana is torn between keeping her family together and being a strong, positive role model for her children. Diego is Carmen's older brother and more supportive of his mom. Bianca, who I think is my favorite character, is Ana's sixteen year old niece, who never had her own quinceanera, plays the buffer between Ana and Carmen as she helps to plan this party. I really enjoyed this book, Acosta writes well, though it took me some time to get used to the style of writing, interspersed with Spanish phrases. But soon I was caught up in this family drama and rooting for mother and daughter to find their way through a difficult time. Carmen's desperate hope for her 'apa to come home is heartbreaking and poignant and at times had me in tears. Though it speaks to it's Latin traditions, the novel's themes are universal. I highly recommend this book. It would also be great for a book club pick. I definitely think Acosta should write another book, focusing on Bianca as she also has a story to tell. http://bookmagic418.blogspot.com/
Synopsis: At the start of Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz, we meet fourteen year old Carmen and her young mother Ana Ruiz. Ana struggles to handle her recent separation from her husband, the demands of her work, and her daughter Carmen's increasing volatility. Carmen blames her mother for her parents' separation and doesn't hesitate to tell her so. Ana suggests the quinceanera as a way to breach the growing divide, but Carmen doesn't seem interested in the quinceanera and takes every opportunity to exclude her mother. It is fortunate that Ana's niece Bianca steps up to act as peacekeeper and party planner. Carmen's older brother Diego, also plays a big role keeping the peace as he comes to terms with his father's absence. The planning and the quinceanera serve as a backdrop to the ongoing family drama of Ana and her husband Esteban, their children Carmen and Diego, the lovely Bianca, and the rest of their family. Review: Before I started Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz, I had suspected that the book would spend much of its time with teenagers and their concerns. It was a delightful surprise to find that the novel followed the mother Ana Ruiz and not the daughter Carmen. Belinda Acosta's writing is funny, heartwarming and touching at the same time. The characters are carefully and sympathetically drawn - you can't help but care for each of them. I particularly enjoyed reading about the close friendship between Ana Ruiz and her childhood friend, Bianca and her love for her family, Diego and his kindness towards his mother. Belinda Acosta does a wonderful job giving you each person's story and hinting at how things work out for them in the future. The book was beautifully done - and I am so looking forward to the next in the series. Note: There are a few Spanish phrases in the novel. I had a few semesters of Spanish close to twenty years ago and recall very little, but you don't need any knowledge of Spanish to understand the few phrases sprinkled in the book. You can make out the expressions from their context in the book. Enjoy!