Seinfeld used to do a bit I really liked about going to the movies. Movie previews used to say, “If you see only one movie this year, make this one it!” He hated that, because if you’re only going to see one movie, don’t bother. It’s too much pressure. I’m feel that way about books.
That’s part of why I read so much – it’s ok to be adventurous and move outside my comfort zone because what’s the worst that can happen? I only liked 85 percent of the books I read instead of 90 percent? There are enough gems on my shelves to allow for something new. It’s all time well spent. So, I recently put out a call on social media for friends to suggest new authors to me. That’s how I got to Sandra Cisneros.
An author of both prose and poetry, Cisneros has an ear for sound and story. She can delight you or make you made with the turn of a phrase or by evoking a very specific feeling that we’ve all felt. In this collection, as the quote at the top of the page indicates, Cisneros explores how she doesn’t meet expectations. Not of her family, not of lovers, not even of herself in some cases. But she is who she is, and that’s nothing to shake a stick at.
Poems seem to flow in chronological order – you meet her family and what they want out of her, you sit in her dingy apartment as she strikes out on her own as a writer, you fill up your passport as she travels the world and meets cute guys of all shapes and sizes, and finally the focus narrows to one Rodrigo.
Personally, I enjoyed the travel poems the most. I’m a suburban family man now, but I used to be a traveler myself. The descriptions of new geography, new places, new encounters – I loved all that the best.
If you’re the black sheep in the family, give this one a go.