These novels written by Hispanic women have themes centered around exploring the natures of love, family and social class.
“Caramelo,” by Sandra Cisneros, is a novel that many first-generation Mexican Americans will find relatable. One perspective of the story, follows Lala and her coming of age in America, while the other centers around a woman struggling through class discrimination during the early 21st century, in Mexico.
Lala is a young girl on her way to spend summer vacation at her grandmother’s house in Mexico City. However, she loathes her Awful Grandmother’s strictness and favoritism. Lala has trouble understanding what makes her act so terrible in the first place. Years later, Lala takes on the responsibility of recounting her grandmother’s life story with the ghost of the Awful Grandmother herself, commenting over her shoulder.
This main storyline along with many other relative side stories, help readers delve into the complexities of Mexican social priorities and practices. They both, almost always put family first.
“Like Water for Chocolate,” by Laura Esquivel, is a novel set during the Mexican Revolution that explores the power struggle between upholding tradition and expressing true love and passion.
Tita is the youngest daughter in the family, expected to forego marriage in favor of taking care of her mother into old age. Thus, she cannot marry the man she longs for the most. Having been born in the kitchen, she finds cooking to be the only way she to express herself. Tita’s emotions are transferred to the food she prepares, causing supernatural effects to whoever consumes her dishes.
Esquivel took part in writing the screenplay for the 1992 film adaptation of the same name. The movie is currently available on Netflix.
“Eva Luna,” by Chilean novelist Isabel Allende, may strike with those who enjoy love stories and a strong focus on side characters.
Eva is a half-Hispanic, half-Indian woman who was brought into the world through almost comical means. Her life constantly remains unstable as a political uprising makes way in Latin America. She moves in and out of many households, taking on the jobs she can and forming unforgettable relationships along the way. Through Eva’s point of view and storytelling, she introduces the dynamic characters she meets throughout her life. In the meantime, a man with similar hardships growing up follows the guerrilla turmoil in the area until one day, Eva tells him her stories.
All three novels are written by Hispanic women and are available in audio, digital and physical copy.