By February 4, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Literary license

gonzalez.gifOne of my favorite books to give to readers looking for “something good” or book group members looking for “something everyone hasn’t read” has been Gonzalez & Daughter Trucking Company by Maria Amparo Escandon.

First published in 2005, this is Escandon’s second novel after her critically acclaimed debut, Esperanza’s Box of Saints (also a good book group choice).

In the Mexicali Women’s prison, the coin of the realm is story–your life story and/or the story of the crime that put you in prison. Libertad refuses to share either story and is pestered relentlessly by her cellmate, Maciza. Unable to tolerate the curious, sometimes threatening, demands of her fellow inmates, Libertad starts Library Club. Every Wednesday, Libertad will read a story to anyone who shows up to listen. She starts with The Three Musketeers but she cannot bring herself to read the famous words of Alexandre Dumas. Instead, Libertad begins telling the story of a spirited girl, her father, a Mexican academic turned political fugitive, and her mother, a tough and beautiful trucker. Warning all her listeners that this is merely a story, full of lies and exaggeration, the inmates soon suspect that Libertad is telling them her own life story, but which parts are truth and which are fiction? And as the inmates speculate on Libertad’s life before and outside prison while waiting for the next weekly Library Club meetings, they begin to share their own life and crime stories.

Gonzalez & Daughter Trucking Company comes with a reading guide in the back of the trade paperback, however, facilitators won’t have to go much further after asking interested readers to speculate on which parts of Libertad’s story are true, which are fabricated, how and why Libertad chooses truth and fiction.

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About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

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