This summer been wacky. I haven’t been writing a lot lately as I’ve been traveling pretty much nonstop since the end of July. When I haven’t been on the road or spending time with family and friends, I’ve been recovering from having all that fun.
I haven’t even been reading much, unlike the beginning of the summer, when I read fourteen books in June and July. Still, I did just finish “Peel My Love Like an Onion” by Ana Castillo, and since this is a blog about feminism and disability (well most of the time), I thought I’d tell y’all about it
“Peel My Love Like An Onion” is the story of Carmen, a Mexican-American flamenco dancer from Chicago, and her long-running love affairs with two men, Augustín and Manolo. Carmen’s stage name is Carmen la Coja, which is Spanish for Carmen the Cripple, as she had polio as a child. Carmen wears a brace on her leg, walks (and dances) with a limp and, as the story progresses, begins to experience the effects of post-polio syndrome.
And yet, Carmen’s disability is not the focus of this novel. It is not about how she “overcomes” her disability to have a dancing career. Instead, “Peel My Love Like An Onion” is about the never-ending saga of the torrid love triangle between Carmen, Augustín and Manolo. It is about Carmen’s relationships with her parents and her brothers. It is about her identity and heritage as a Chicagoan, Chicana (Is tht the right word?) and American.
I’m not saying that disability, pain and illness are not crucial to this novel. They are, as they form the core of who Carmen is. But this is not just a disability novel. It is the story of Carmen’s dancing career, love affairs and family life. It is also the story of a woman who happens to have a disability.
If you need something good to read, “Peel My Love Like An Onion” by Ana Castillo is worth a look.
P.S. I have received absolutely no compensation for this review. I actually got the book out of the library.