“¡Ándale, Prieta!: A love letter to my family” Yasmín Ramírez

5 stars ***** Cinco Puntos Press (Lee & Low Books Inc.) 2022. 268 p. (Includes “Afterword,” and “My Ita’s recipes”)

This moving memoir is a love story to Yasmín’s strong, loving grandmother Ita. Ever since she was a little girl, she and her Ita were a team. Her mother worked long night shifts, so Ita took care of her in the border town of El Paso, Texas where they lived. Ita had a tough life, and learned to defend herself against tough men. She taught her granddaughter to hold her head high, to fight, cook, love pico, dance, love music, and much more. Yasmín adored Ita, who called her the cherished name “Prieta.” In anyone else’s mouth it would be an insult, but it was a term of endearment Yasmín adored. The love she felt for her grandmother comes alive in simple yet cherished memories such as the scent of Avon’s Skin so Soft on her skin, the way she looked when she sang, and the scars on her body from life’s struggles she battled and conquered.

Yasmín and Ita’s lives mix with the love/hate relationship she felt for her father, who abandoned her for a different family when she was a little girl. Yasmín spent years wishing for, but not getting, the love she craved from him. Drinking could make the pain go away, but it always returned.

Yasmín’s memories, as well as struggles in her personal life, jump back and forth across the pages. Spanish language endearments, sayings and conversations are sprinkled throughout, flavoring it with the sabor/flavor of which Ita was so fond. Though ¡Ándale, Prieta! was written as a gift from Yasmín to Ita, it’s also a gift for those with loving grandmothers who changed their lives for the better.

Yasmín, from one Prieta to another, I know Ita would be proud.

Highly recommended for Adults.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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