Tuesday, November 10, 2015

G654 Book Review of Jesusita by Ronald L Ruiz

Name of Book: Jesusita

Author: Ronald L Ruiz

ISBN: 978-1-937484-33-0

Publisher: Amika Press

Type of book: 1945s-1950s, religion, prayer, Sacrament, materialism, classicism, vanity, California, Mexico, community, parent/child relationships, work, European Americans and Central Americans, Pinoys, desire

Year it was published: 2015


Jesusita is the story of immigrants—legal and illegal—trying to survive in California in the years after World War II. Jesusita, alone and impoverished, struggles to keep her four young children together. Though she finds support from Padre Montes at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church, her faith won’t solve her problems, especially those with her daughter, Paulina. Far from home, Filipino laborers are denied by law any contact with white women. Angie, the young daughter of an illiterate and unmarried mother, knows only one way to make money. And Felix, abandoned by his mother and separated from his only brother, is placed in a foster home on an isolated ranch. The interrelated lives of these people provide a complex, sometimes violent, and often tragic image of American poverty within the nation’s postwar boom.


There are quite a lot of characters in the books and pretty much almost all of them play a role in the book. Jesusita is a mother of four who is best described as arrogant towards others, Jesusita's three children respect her and are afraid of her, while her third child, Paulina always defies her at really major costs to health and sanity. She is also two-faced when it comes to church and her own children, but also extremely dedicated to church and to religion at the cost of everything else. At first Angie is a six year old girl who lost her innocence extremely early, and she seems to not question the world and what is going on around her. She is best described as materialistic and seems to be more concerned about her own pleasure and money rather than other things. Unfortunately another character, Felix, is one that I get to know the least, except that he is very methodical and loyal to people who take care of him as well as to his family.


To be honest I'm kind of having a hard time articulating what the theme should be. Maybe that reality chases faith away?


The story is in third person narrative mainly from Jesusita's point of view, although Angie , Felix and Padre Montes also play a small role in the story. I have to admit that although the story began in 1945 and immediately drew me in, when other characters such as Felix and Angie entered, I wondered if their stories also started in 1945 or not really? The story also takes a look at the lives of Central American immigrants to California as well as their prejudices towards others. (I was surprised that they saw people from Mexico who had Indian blood as less than.) The great deal of focus is on religion and its affect on Jesusita's life, as well as how she struggles with what life has dealt her and her family. The story is also not preachy and while religion is in the front of the story, it is very subtle and not overbearing.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Buy the book:    Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble

Ronald L. Ruiz author pic
Meet the author: 

After reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment at the age of 17, I knew I wanted to be a writer. But I knew nothing about the craft. My first novel, Happy Birthday Jesús, was published 36 years later. Surprisingly, it received good reviews

For many years, I was a criminal defense attorney and at the end of my career a prosecutor, but I always managed to find time to write. What I saw and experienced during those years often serves as a basis for my writing. For me, learning how to write has been a long, continuous and, at times, torturous process.

Now retired, I try to write every day and I feel fortunate that I have found something in writing that sustains me. I’m glad I persevered during all those years of rejection. More than anything, writing about what I see and experience in life has given me a sense of worth.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Facebook


Last year, I had an opportunity to read a book titled Vicissitudes of Life by Wang Xiaoying which explored the idea of traditional China versus modern China and what it means for China's place in the world. Reading this book was just like reading Vicissitudes of Life, except for the fact that the story deals with multiple immigrants from Central America and takes place in 1940s to 1950s, while Vicissitudes of Life was a 1990s story, I think. I enjoy reading books in what I would call sparse writing where more is said with less, and Jesusita is just like that. I wasn't able to come up with what it could mean until I dreamt that perhaps its the clash of modern thoughts and ideas versus the ideas of yesteryear, and looking at the names of the two characters as well as the worlds that they inhabit, one could argue with the idea that the founder of religion (in form of Jesusita) is very idealistic and refuses to see reality for what it is, while the messenger (Angie) sees the reality for what it is and demands for society or faith to conform to stop turning blind eye towards the ugly and to stop judging it as wrong. All in all, a beautiful, breathtaking and an unforgettable read that's not likely to let the reader go for a very long time.

This is for iRead Book Tours


Nov 2 -   Corinne Rodrigues - review / giveaway
Nov 3 -   Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - review / guest post
Nov 4 -   Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
Nov 5 -   misty103 @ HubPages - review
Nov 6 -   Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
Nov 9 -   Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
Nov 10 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
Nov 11 - The World As I See It - review / giveaway
Nov 12 - The Autistic Gamer - review 
Nov 12 - T's Stuff - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 13 -Life as Leels - review
Nov 16 - Puddletown Reviews - review
Nov 17 - Nighttime Reading Center - review / author interview / giveaway
Nov 18 - Library of Clean Reads - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 19 - #redhead.with.book - book spotlight
Nov 20 - The Bookish Angel - review / guest post / giveaway
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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