Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Daughter's a Daughter


In his novel, ‘A Daughter’s a Daughter,’ author Nash Candelaria presents a fictional account of the lives of a family of Hispanic women from New Mexico spanning three generations. Although each woman grew up during different time periods, they are bound by family, tradition, and strength.

The story begins with Liberata, an only child of a successful farmer. The narrative chronicles her life growing up with a loving family. She eventually meets and marries a man by the name of Benito. Liberata expects to carry on the traditions of wife and mother, but her life is turned upside down as her husband abuses and cheats on her. One day he mysteriously disappears and everyone assumes he joined the army. The story then chronicles the life of Liberata’s daughter Maria. Maria’s story is of a childhood where her mother tries to instill the ominous rule: Don’t marry a man that is too handsome. Maria chooses to live as a traditional mother with her faith being a major source of strength. The story of Maria’s daughter, Irene, is that of an independent child full of questions. Her thirst for knowledge causes her to attend University and become a Lawyer

Each generation of women portrays personal growth and how they define themselves and their lives. There is growing independence from one generation to the next while the bonds of their Chicano traditions keep them together. A major theme is the role of women in the family and society, from obedience and servitude to freedom and independence. As well, the disappearance of Liberata’s husband is a mystery that surfaces throughout the book until its surprising revelation. As each generation progresses, the affects of war on the family, the role of religion, love, and loss, becomes central themes.

The writing is rich in Hispanic culture and traditions from pre-World War II to present day. 'A Daughter's a Daughter' is highly recommended to readers interested in Hispanic culture and women's issues.

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