We finally started reading Jenna Bush's literary masterpiece, and it took about five minutes to get all: "Whoa, this is really fucking depressing. The writing is pretty no-frills about it, but so far the main character Ana, a poor Panamanian cab driver's daughter with HIV, has been beaten, raped and seen both her parents die of AIDS; oh, and also watched her sister get raped. (Money scene in the school cafeteria when Ana fills with shame watching in silence as her friends heckle/hurl milk cartons at another classmate they suspect of having HIV.) But probably the most interesting part of the book thus far is the portrayal of step-grandpa Ernesto, who not only rapes Ana and her sister but also, she later finds, raped her dead mother, which is how everyone ended up getting AIDS. Ernesto is a pretty fucked-up dude — but by the time Ana is watching her second parent die of the disease, he's lost most of the "evil" she thought he was capable of:
Ernesto looked the same — his legs still reminded Ana of hot dogs and his stomach still shook when he walked — but his eyes were different. Instead of being filled with animal rage and lust, they looked tired and defeated.
What a nuanced portrayal of a mean old grandpa who could easily be scapegoated for all the book's problems! Hey, remember when Jenna's grandpa bombed Panama??? Funny, it was the same year "Ana" was born!
Interestingly, the grandma who stands idly by as her boyfriend fucks every female in the family except her is given sorta-harsher treatment. ????????
And related, what exactly is with Jenna's pledge to "protect" Ana from having her true identity revealed? (Seriously, I mean, she's a single mother in an impoverished country with no known fatwas or Brad Pitt trysts behind her; why does she need "privacy" so bad?) (Hey, how do you say "Fuck discretion" in Spanish?)