Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Mother's Funeral

Title:  My Mother's Funeral
Author:  Adriana Paramo
Publication Information:  CavanKerry. 2013. 258 pages.

Book Source:  I received this book through the GoodReads First Reads program free of cost in exchange for an honest review. The book arrived as a paperback edition.

Favorite Quote:  "Mom, however, doesn't believe in monsters. She says that the only thing we need to be afraid of is people, especially men."

Adriana Paramo's was raised in Colombia but now lives in the United States. Her memoir centers around her trip back to Colombia for her mother's funeral, but really depicts a picture of her mother and their relationship, of the joy and the sorrow that are part of each.

Her mother, Carmen, grew up privileged, but married young and against her parent's wishes. Her husband drifted in and out of their family's life over the next decades, leaving Carmen to birth and raise six children - five daughters and one son. Adriana is the youngest of the children.

The memoir seamlessly moves between time periods - Carmen's early days of love and marriage, Adriana's childhood, and the loss of returning to Colombia for her mother's funeral. Through the tale, we get a picture of two strong women and of their sometimes complicated relationship.

Carmen learned to survive alone and hold life together for her children - whether that meant surviving the realization that her husband was not the gallant gentlemen she met, making bone soup for dinner day in and day out, washing and wearing the same set of clothes to always appear neat and clean, or running away  in the middle of the night from a landlord demanding rent.

Adriana knew that she was an unwanted birth - the youngest in a line when it was difficult enough to care for those who came before. Yet, she also knew that she was loved - memories of Mom making things special. Some instances are described through a child's innocent eyes; yet, they portray the adult reality of how difficult it must have been for her mother to maintain that innocence.

The book is part a tribute to the amazing woman that her mother was and part a testament to the love and complicated emotions that are part of a mother and daughter bond.

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