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Family Secrets & Sensualities

*This is a book review of Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo.

Quick Facts

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Release Date: August 1, 2023
Genre: Magic realism, domestic fiction
Main Characters: Flor, Ona, Matilde, Pastora, Yadi
Number of Pages: 367
SJ Rating: 30%

The Synopsis

Like her sisters, Flor was blessed with a gift; she could tell the day someone died, which raised several questions from the women in her life when Flor asks for a living wake. No one knows Flor’s reasoning, and tensions rise as the day of the wake nears, bringing all family secrets to light.

The Good

I like the list of characters in the beginning; it helped a little bit with trying to understand what the heck was happening in this book.

For the plot, things got semi-good when Matilde’s, one of the sisters, fraud of a marriage was shared. Like, the way her husband started his infidelity the night of their wedding is CRAZY.

For the physical book, I liked the size of the book in correlation with the font size.

One of the best things about this book is the continuously expressed hatred for Christopher Columbus.

The Bad

It almost feels like Ona is narrating a movie she’s watching on the life leading up to her mother’s death? That’s the best way I could interpret it, but I was so confused the entire time. There are moments when it feels like there are two narrators, and I can’t actually tell who’s telling certain parts of the story.

On the topic of confusion, the consistent time jumps in the midst of chapters were messing up my reading experience. It often made the story both hard to read and hard to envision.

The style, or maybe the plot, of the story makes it seem so old, like before the 2000s, but with mentions of listening to Teyana Taylor and getting an Uber, it’s apparently written during a relatively current time. I’m just not sure it translates well without mentioning more things associated with pop culture. I have no clue if any of that made sense, but I hope it did.

With most of the book being written in English, it would’ve been nice to have the translation of the sentences in Spanish.

I hated the ending. Like, what was that?

The Overall

This book definitely challenged what I could remember from Spanish class when I was in high school. Speaking of high school, I read this like it was required reading from school, like when we had to read The Great Gatsby or anything by Shakespeare.

I regret spending over thirty dollars on this book.

Next book to be read and reviewed: Icebreaker by Hannah Grace

“Slighted things needed you to witness the wound you gave them.”

-Whoever the narrator is

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