#LatinoLit: Rain of Gold by Victor Villaseñor Book Review

Victor Villaseñor Rain of Gold Lluvia de Oro

#LatinoLit: Rain of Gold by Victor Villaseñor {Book Review}

Rain of Gold” was a little of what I expected and a lot of what I didn’t.  I’d heard that it was a great tale of Mexican history and traditions, and that it was hopeful and full of Chicana(o) pride.  But this book turned out to be so much more.  The details and depictions of the ins and outs of the Mexican familia were so honest.  There were several parts that also reminded me of my own family.  Most of all though, it was filled with such truths about relationships and family bonds that it’s almost impossible to imagine someone who would be unable to connect with this story.  Throughout the book, we learn of the horrors of war, the drama and dysfunction that meets many families along the way, and the incredible spiritual power behind two women who raised their families up out of the hate and taught them to love.  Even at the darkest moments, there are spiritual lessons being learned and love is shown to be a tool that grows both our hearts and minds.

The story starts out in La lluvia de oro (rain of gold), a small village at the southwest border of the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, where one of the main characters, Lupe, lives with her family.  We learn about Lupe’s family, about their challenges, their strength and their pride.  Later in the story, her future husband, Juan Salvador, appears in the story and readers are transported into a back and forth between the stories of each family as they make their way from Mexico to the U.S. during the Mexican Revolution.  The later half of the story takes place interchangeably between Corona and Santa Ana in California, where the two families settled after reaching the U.S.  “Rain of Gold“, the true story of the Villaseñor’s parents, Lupe and Juan Salvador, becomes more intriguing when the couple finally meets.  By then, we’ve come to understand all of the back story and realized what amazing families both of these individuals have bloomed from.  There is a wonderfully intimate understanding of their families’ lives that takes us well beyond the typical “Mexican” stereotypes and enables readers to connect with the characters on an emotional level, no matter what their cultural or social background.

For Latinos and individuals who’ve lived within the Latino circle, you’ll be pleasantly entertained by all the small nuances throughout the book that go hand in hand with the familial customs and traditions that we still take part in today.  There are plenty of sobremesas, many mentions of the typical, and some not so typical, traits of Mexican mothers and a great deal of Mexican folklore and history intertwined throughout the story.  This novel is intricately and lovingly written and it’s easy to see that Villaseñor has a deep and adoring connection to his Mexican roots. His honesty on both the amazing heritage and shortcomings of Mexican culture is refreshing and readers will find themselves nodding in agreement and recalling the details of their own family experiences and doubts.  The book also has an overt feminist tone that defies common myths of “weak Latina women” and instead, tells the stories of two bold women who saved their families from the horrors of the revolution and built a strong family with deep roots in their faith.  Villaseñor’s depiction of Mexican women as the bearers of all life, the strongest and most intelligent, is uplifting and inspiring.  Although there are also some very macho elements in the book, they are used again and again to prove the point that women, are indeed, amazing creatures.

If you’re a feminist and/or love Mexican and Latino culture, this is a must read! There are insights on faith, culture, history, romance, selfishness, pride and many more important topics.  I was especially inspired by the ending of the book and so, I recently started “Thirteen Senses“, which details Salvador and Lupe’s marriage and outlines their families’ wisdoms on cultivating love.  You can count on reading a review of “Thirteen Senses” very soon!  ;)


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South Texas Foodie, Traveler, Photographer, and Designer.