Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Book Review: Houston We Have a Problema

Several years ago, back when I was a single, dating mom, I was looking in the Sunday newspaper at the wedding and engagement announcements. Someone in my family was looking with me and this person made a comment about a couple whose picture was shown.

The groom-to-be was black and the bride-to-be was white.

The relative of mine had a problem with that. I did not.

Another couple in the paper was a cute Hispanic guy and a white girl. The relative of mine commented on what a cute, sweet couple they were and when I pointed out that, um HELLO? You have a problem with a black and white couple but not a Hispanic and white couple, the relative said,

"Well, he looks white, so it's okay".

That has stuck with me for years.

Why am I mentioning this? Because I just read the fabulous book Houston, We Have a Problema by the amazing Gwendolyn Zepeda. In this book the main character, Jessica Luna, confronts issues of race, family, and taking control of your own life.

As it has been frequently documented on this blog, I have a bit of a friend crush on Gwen (which she is aware of and, thankfully, tolerates). I wasn't sure what to think about this book when I first received it, because I am more familiar with Gwen's writing style on her blog, which is snappy and conversational.

Gwen is one hell of a fiction writer though, and I ended up reading the book in two days. Then I read it again, and again, because I liked it so much.

The novel centers about Jessica Luna, a twenty-six year old woman who is trying to change her life. She relies on a psychic to give her advice and the results are often hilarious. As Jessica comes to terms with her love life, her work life, and her parents relationship, we get to know the real her. And? We fall in love with her. By the end of the book I was rooting for her and was surprised at some of the twists and turns that the story eventually took.

More than being just chick-lit, this book made me think about and question my own ideas on race and family. I love a book that not only makes me laugh but also makes me think.

This book rocks, and you can pre-order it at Amazon. And be sure to visit Gwen at her website. But don't tell her I sent you, okay? She'll think I'm a stalker.


judy in ky said...

Hi. I want to thank you for telling us about Gwen. I checked out her website just now, and I love her post about living in a red state. You see, I experienced the same feelings on election night. I was giddy and excited, but where I live there were no happy throngs out celebrating.
I also love what she said about being out among a diverse group of people during the day. I used to commute by train every day in Philadelphia, and I loved being around all kinds of people.
She sounds great... I will check out her book.

Teena in Toronto said...

Thanks for the recommendation!

Angie said...

I would really like to read this. I'm going to make an effort to read more in 2009. Oy.

Hey, I finally provided proof to the world -- or my 6 blog readers -- that we met. And hugged.

Sorry Jason, you didn't make this picture! :)

Emma in Canada said...

I totally want to read that book. Thanks for the recommendation!

Emma in Canada said...

I totally want to read that book. Thanks for the recommendation!