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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Guest Post by Susan Speranza--Author of The Tale of Lucia Grandi: The Early Years

Enrique Iglesias and the Matter of Luck

by Susan Speranza

A friend of mine, a young Spanish teacher named Jule is in love with Enrique Iglesias. She has turned her classroom into a shrine for this singer, much to her students’ amusement. She even named her son’s turtle after her idol.

Needless to say, she makes a great effort to be at all his concerts that are held within a 5 hour driving radius to where she lives. So it was last year she found out he was scheduled to be in Boston and immediately got tickets to attend. But she didn’t want to go alone, so she asked everyone she knew. Of course, few people in her life are as enamored of Enrique as she is and it was a busy time of year. Finally, her sister-n-law, Letty, consented. She likes his music well enough and thought it would be a nice night out for the two of them talking, going to dinner, then seeing the concert.

Jule made sure she wore the appropriate black outfit, because as she explained, the highlight of the concert is when Enrique selects a woman from the crowd, pulls her up on stage with him and sings to her. He always seems to select women who are dressed in shades of black, thus her informal research has indicated. Most of the women in the audience would love to be that woman. When he scans the crowd looking for “his” woman, you can hear shouts that say “Pick me! Pick me!” Jule admits she would love it if he picked her. So she does everything in her power to maximize the odds – she dresses like all the women he seems to pick, she spends large sums of money getting seats up front.

So it was during this particular concert, as the singer scanned the audience for his choice, he bent down, extended his hand a few inches from Jule’s face – and took the hand of her sister-in-law who was right next to her. For the next 20 minutes, Letty sat stunned on stage with the famous singer, his arm around her, his head close to hers as he sang love songs to her and pausing only to ask her questions about her and her life.

While Jule was happy for her sister-in-law, she realized that a once in a lifetime chance eluded her – all because of luck. Maybe Enrique liked the way Letty looked that night, or was dressed – or maybe she was simply more visible than she was. No one will ever know why Letty was selected and Jule was not. Or maybe there was no reason at all – maybe it was all just a matter of luck.

In many ways this is what happens to writers. They spend years writing a book they need to write and are convinced there are readers out there who will like the book well enough to propel it onto the world stage in front of a larger audience. But ultimately it’s a matter of luck whether a writer is “chosen” or not. But like my friend, you have to be at the show in order to be chosen. So if a writer never gets around to writing that masterpiece, there is no hope at all that her work will be “chosen”. But ultimately, it’s a matter of luck. Just like an Enrique concert…

Synopsis from back cover:

When an old woman is asked to recount the story of her life, she tells an intense and poignant tale about growing up in and surviving a warring suburban family during the 1950's and 60's.  Lucia and her siblings are caught in the middle of a lifelong battle between her unhappy, homemaker mother and her father, a manipulative and sometimes violent New York City cop.

Written as a memoir, each chapter describes a particular incident in Lucia's life which shows the constant struggle between her parents and the perverse effect it has on her and the family.  From her complicated and unwanted birth, to her witnessing a suicide at age 3, to her stint as a runaway at age 14, the story progresses to the final crisis where as a young woman, she is turned out of her house and banished from her family forever.

Told in breathtakiningly beautiful prose, this is a powerful and timeless story of a dying woman's courageous attempt to come to terms with the past and the troubled family that dominated it.

My Review:

This was truely a powerful story, it is one that once started you don't want to put down.  The writing flowed so smoothly, and was truely beautiful.  This also is a very touching and emotional story.  Susan makes you feel Lucia's pain.

The story starts out with a young woman going to a nursing home and asking a 110 year old woman to tell her the story of her life.  What unfolds is a mesmerizing and sometimes distrubing account.  It shows the huge differences in society from the 1950's and 60's to present day.  Like how parents treat their children, I'm sure there is still abuse, but now it is reported, and how teachers treat students.  Her parents had wanted a son, so when Lucia was born, they were sorely disappointed and held it against her her whole life.  She never measured up and was always told she was stupid and lazy.  The only one in her life that ever truely loved Lucia was her step-grandfather.  Lucia struggled all her life, and at the end of the book,  is asked to leave her home over something, that nowdays is overlooked.

This a wonderful story, and I'm wondering if there is going to be more to it?

I recieved a copy of this book for my honest review.  This tour was organized by Lightning Book Promotions.

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