While I try and write up a short reaction to most of the books I read on my own, I don't usually post about books I read in class. For one thing, there would be too many: they would overtake the blog. And I also already have to write papers and other assignments on them, so choosing to write extra on school books isn't always what I'm keen to do. But there are exceptions.
Yesterday, when I shut the last page of María Amparo Escandón's novel, González & Daughter Trucking Co., I had to pause for a couple of minutes to take it in.
I don't always feel that way, where a book has touched my thoughts in a way that goes past enjoying reading it or finding a depth of material for analysis.
Given that I was reading this book for a class, there are certainly many layers you can study it under. It deals with issues of cultural identity, taking place in both Mexico and the U.S. It studies the workings of community and also more personal relationships, most prominently father-daughter relationships (as you can tell from the title--why, asks Escandón, are companies only named "& Son?"). It questions what fear is and where knowledge comes from and how healing comes. It's written in such a format of two, three, or four voices/speakers/lenses that it interacts with the reality of stories and truth.
It's also a pleasure to read simply as a story. At our last class, we only needed to have read the first half of the book, but a few people had already finished it. I found that I needed to read the first half slower in order to take everything in, but the second half went by in a breeze. It's a book that tends to beg you to keep reading and reacting to what you read.
And that's the special part: the reacting. There are beautiful and poetic moments interspersed in the pages, moments that I really felt for. It's a book about a women's prison, a father and daughter on the road for their trucking company, and one woman's journey through discovery, pain, and ultimate healing. Amongst all of the communities and the stories, there are very personal emotions.