Author: Susan Gonzales Abram and Denise Gonzales Abram
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
Cecilia’s Year covers the life of a 14 year old Mexican-American girl who lives on a ranch in New Mexico during the Depression era.
Cecilia is smart, bookish and determined in her quiet way to follow her dreams. One of those dreams is going to high school instead of marrying and being a stay at home wife and mother as is expected of girls in that era. The book is set up with each chapter dedicated to a different month on the ranch with rich cultural details and a profound sense of community. The family and friends Cecilia has surrounding her are all very definite personalities and each feels real and true.
Cecilia’s Year has a down home feel to it with a strong Mexican flavor. Even though I grew up decades after Cecilia did and in the city, most of the core values, the family she lives with, the dichos (sayings) and food they eat is much like what I grew up with in my Mexican home. Some things always remain the same. The book really resonated with me for those reasons as well as being a great and engrossing story. You just have to love Cecilia and root for her. You hope she gets everything she dreams of and that’s the magic of reading a book like this – you end up really caring about the characters. They become real to you. Cecilia’s story is heartfelt and lovely.
The book is a tribute to the author’s mother and a note at the end tells what happened to the real Cecilia. Sepia toned photos are included as well as a glossary of Spanish dichos.