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Name : Jill D.

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Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Beautiful, Dramatic
Of Women and Salt

Here is a book that makes you think and ponder, long after the last page. Written in the many voices of the various characters provides a solid narrative and insight to the trials of immigration, motherhood, and childhood trauma.
As the title implies, this is a multigenerational story of women and the long-lasting friendship and relationship between people. We meet 5 generations of immigrant women from Cuba and El Salvador who are forced to rise above challenges in order to survive and thrive else they disappear. The characters are well developed as the author alternates the story from present day to the past to give insight to the events, secrets, and choices made in each woman’s life which influence their futures. We first meet Carmen, a first-generation Cuban immigrant mother who struggles with the mother/daughter relationship both with her daughter Jeanette who struggles with drug addiction and her own mother, Delores whom she hasn’t been in contact with since she fled Cuba. Additionally, there is the parallel story of a El Salvadorian illegal immigrant mother and daughter Ana, taken by ICE in the night.
We also meet Maria Isabel, a Cuban woman who was the lone female worker in a cigar factory, who provides the binding and connection between all the women. Maria Isabel, through life circumstances, chooses to take charge of her destiny although she must succumb to the norms of the day for women which meant marriage. Her quest for literacy and a shared love of new knowledge in a time of upheaval in Cuba during the revolution with Castro coming to power, provides the foundational mantra noted as “We are force” that influences every generation following.
However, the choices each woman made to survive usually had unintentional implications for their offspring. It is only in seeing life through the eyes of each character, do we get to see how these have shaped each woman.
I found this book to be enjoyable to read and it kept me reading on to find out the motivation for each character. The ending however was a bit lazy in details which jumped back to connect Ana, the little girl lost with the true little girl lost, Jeanette. For a novel, this short, it seemed to be too much in a rush to suddenly end. However, I thought that this book, with beautiful language, gave great insight to the challenges that immigrants face coming to America and the fears and realities from which they run as well as the complexities found in relationships between mothers and daughters. I would rate this book 4/5 stars.

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