Stars Always Shine depicts the bonds that gradually develop between two memorable characters of vastly different social, political, and spiritual backgrounds. Plácido Moreno, a Mexican American, Salvador Campos, an undocumented immigrant, and Plácido’s wife, Michelle, live as caretakers on StarRidge Ranch in California. As Plácido and Salvador get to know each other, they become aware of their similarities and shared Mexican culture as well as the differences between them shaped by their backgrounds on opposite sides of the border. Their stories are imaginatively interwoven in the narrative. All of the characters experience the rhythms of life as their ways and beliefs clash, sometimes humorously and at other times with profound sadness.
“Rivera’s deft and believable characterization reveals a true talent in storytelling. . . . [His] comic sense shows the maturity of an accomplished writer. Buy this book, for it is the work of a writer who knows what writing is about.” —Rolando Hinojosa, author of The Valley and Ask a Policeman.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Rick Rivera's 'Stars Always Shine' is a beautifully-crafted story of attorney Michelle Stanton ('Mitch') and English-degreed Placido Moreno ('Place') who flee the fast lane and become ranch hands for Jacqueline and Mickey Kittle. Thrown into the mix is the holdover Salvador, an undocumented Mexican, who worked for the previous owners. Though technically not much happens, the characters go through major life changes as they confront their own and others expectations in matters of culture, language and the work ethic. The most compelling relationship is between Place -- who feels a bit like a 'pocho' because of his poor Spanish and 'Americanized' ways of thinking -- and Salvador who is both amused and confounded by Place's ability to be in two cultures at once. With the help of Place, Salvador becomes more a part of the United States. Conversely, Salvador helps Place with his Spanish. Rivera is masterful at painting believeable characters who are not unlike ourselves. And his meticulous descriptions of Sonoma County's terrain and climate bring that part of California alive. On top of it, I learned so much about the practicalities of running a ranch from irrigation to medicating cattle. This is a very fine book.