I’m not sure where I found this book and like I read the whole thing without putting it aside and it was entertaining but I’m also not sure what I read or why. You ever have those books?
The House of Broken Angels (and that’s Angel, like the Spanish name, not angel like Islington) is about a sprawling Mexican-American family and its patriarch. Big Angel is said patriarch and is more or less the main character, but the book is about more than him. It’s also about Little Angel, his half brother, and the rest of their big crazy family. It’s Big Angel’s 70th birthday and he’s sick enough to acknowledge that it will be his last. His mother has also just passed away so the family is taking a single weekend to celebrate them both and bring them all together. Family drama ensues, as it is wont to do.
This is one of those really big families where age ranges are all across the board and nieces can be older than their uncles which can make untangling family dynamics a bit of a challenge for readers. I’ll admit that sorting out the family tree became my new counting sheep as I was trying to go to sleep at night.
All in all, it’s a relatively happy family with a couple of old skeletons (so, like every family ever) and a lot of shifting power dynamics. There are the fuck ups and the golden children, the extended family no one has met before and the prodigal son returning. It was a good read, but not one I see myself coming back to.
Bingo Square: Happy Birthday! (Luis Alberto Urrea, August 20)