Thursday, January 9, 2020

Review for Myriam Gurba's Mean by Juliana Aragón Fatula

Dear Reader,

My first post of 2020! Wow! I have a book I'd like to review for you. It's written by Myriam Gurba. Heard of her? She's one of my favorite writers. 

Myriam Gurba, author of Mean, a New York Times editors’ choice. O, the Oprah Magazine, ranked Mean as one of the best LGBTQ books of all time. 

“Gurba’s ‘queer art of being mean’ is a triumph of deadpan humor in a timely and thrilling voice. Stop everything and read this brave and tender book.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

Her novel blew my mind. I read it in 2018. It was sent to me by another writer, mi comadre, Aimee Medina Carr who wrote River of Love. I am reading Mean again. I read it when it first arrived. It was a surprise, unexpected, but not just because I wasn’t expecting a gift, but because the person sending the book to me knows me better than anyone knows me, and she chose me to send the book and when I read it, I felt so good, I wept, I laughed, I had serious conversations with myself and I gave in to my desire to write again. What I love about her writing is her sense of  humor, but also her ability to make me cry about life's injustices. She makes me laugh and cry and anyone who can do that by writing words deserves my praise. 

I’ve set a goal for myself to write to my favorite authors an tell them how their work impacted my life and my writing. I fell in love with Myriam and sent her a friend request on Facebook. I let her know how much her book moved me. She responded immediately. I've made it a habit to write to authors who inspire my writing. The authors who write back are so appreciative and some become friends. 

Her first chapter named "Wisdom" comes on strong to weed out the weak readers. If you can't handle that first story, you  can't handle Myriam. She's tough, a chingona, a badass.  So be warned. She's not light reading. She's serious about her writing and you better take her fully aware. She's mean. She writes, "The post-traumatic mind has an advanced set of art skills." That explains my passion for writing. I'm suffering from PTSD and I have an advanced set of art skills. So you know, of course I dig her.

Reviewers have said her book is true crime, memoir, ghost story, hybrid in form. She is confident, intoxicating, inspiring, queer magic, heartbreaking, intelligent, mesmerizing, and her sense of humor, there is no one like her. 

She inspired me to keep writing when I was about to quit. I thought I was wrong about my style of writing. She made me believe again that I'm right and have something to contribute. She made me realize that we have to tell our stories, no matter how heartbreaking because they heal others. She healed me. She is a literary Curendera, a healer. 

Myriam Gurba has a voice and energy meant to wake us up and move us to share our stories. They teach the next generation and someday the world will be a better place because of writers like Myriam. She gives us permission to be mean. 

She writes, "When was the last time you were mean for fun? When was the last time you were mean in the name of politics? Have you ever been mean for Jesus? When was the last time you tried to kill someone rather than let him into your club? When was the last time you wanted to kill someone but chose to be a bitch instead of a murderer?" 

I hate being mean, but for politics? Mean instead of killing someone with my stiletto? Hell, yes. Let's all be kinder to each other this year but be mean for fun. 

You have to read this author because if you don't you'll never know what I mean when I say be mean. Que no? 

Also, I want to write a poem to Myriam about her book Mean. Here it is. 

Your writing is magical. You found my heart, broke it, mended it with words, and made me laugh until I peed. Your work has a true place in this world. I want to shout to all the girls, read this book. It will make you a better person. I want all the boys to read Mean. I want gay boys, straight boys, trans boys, bi boys, all the boys to read your magic words, and go tell someone what they read, and how it made them feel. It should be required reading in high school. The libraries should have a waiting list to check out Mean. I wish my parents could have read Mean. I wish I could have read it to them on their deathbeds, so they could leave this world, and know I would be ok. I wish my younger self had met you in California and we could have talked about books, music, movies, life. I wish for you and your people a long life full of magic. Thank your for writing Mean.

reviews for Mean

purchase at Coffeehouse Press

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