. Athena's Books: Death, Dickenson, and Frenchie in Orlando
Monday, June 17, 2013

Death, Dickenson, and Frenchie in Orlando

Monday Mini (Minnie) Review :) 

Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just finished this book last week (and in one sitting), and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. To be honest, one of the most refreshing things was just simply reading about a character named Frenchie Garcia and whose last name was not a deciding factor in the types of experiences she went through. Don't get me wrong because I surely agree with adding the personal experience, and I usually always do in my own writing. I see all writing as somehow being influenced by the writer's past whether it be actual experiences or something he or she is familiar with based on activities, reading, or viewing.

But, the number one thing I wanted to see growing up was some type of TV show where people had a last name like me, but who lived like a regular teenager and whose parents didn't work in the factory or who didn't have an accent (even though that was my family). But, it wasn't me, or so I thought, because I loved Madonna and Prince and wore neon colors and loved the mall and got straight A's and didn't really know how to speak anything other than English, and saw myself on the same playing field as anybody who is an American and/or White.

So, here is this Frenchie girl from Orlando who wears black and likes punk and who never says one Spanish word in the entire novel. I think it would have been interesting to see some of her more "Garcia" side, but then we would be talking about a different book here. Nonetheless, if you read about the author, Jenny Sanchez Torres, you find that Frenchie indeed has been created out of the author's experiences. I wanted the "regular" story when I was growing up, and here I am twenty years later reading the book I would have loved back then. Talk about making some ground here with contemporary Latina writers! (I hope to join Jenny's ranks one day soon :)

As for the book itself, the premise as suggested by the title is not completely original in that I have read a lot of books wherein the main character has a connection to some literary work or writer, but who gets tired of that? Not me. So, just to offer a summary of sort, Frenchie has loved this certain guy all her high school life and doesn't believe she will ever be able to love anyone else. But, when she "relives" a night that changed her world, well, her world changes again in an unexpected way. And, of course Emily Dickenson is there throughout to help her cope and make sense of all the craziness. Enjoy!

Brief Excerpt from Chapter 20, "Tonight" (Frenchie talking to Colin, a guy she initally told off in the worst way):

"How are you so sure?" I ask him, shaking my head.  "I mean, don't you think that on some level there are these paths to your life, already mapped, that your follow?"

He thinks about this for a minute.  "I don't know, that just seems so final.  I mean, I honestly think of life like this big wilderness.  And maybe your're on the path, but I alwasys thinks you have a choice.  To tay on theat path, or to venture out into the wilderness and make different paths."

"Oh . . ." is all I can say.  His answer has made my head feel full.

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Miss Inga Page said...

"To be honest, one of the most refreshing things was just simply reading about a character named Frenchie Garcia and whose last name was not a deciding factor in the types of experiences she went through."

I definitely, definitely, definitely agree with this! Too many YA books now are doing this. I recently finished "The Selection" by Kiera Cass and thought that naming the protagonist America SINGER was just a step too far!

Thanks for recommending this book, I think I definitely need to add this one to my TBR!

Sell used textbooks online said...

Simply put.. Awesome, thank you!