By Stephanie Elizondo Griest
Depending on where you live, and who you are, this book may be incredibly relevant to you. I am a whitie who grew up in the suburbs of Seattle. I thought it was multi-cultural and upon moving to San Francisco over 4 years ago I realized that in fact, it was not. San Francisco however is! I currently live in the Mission District which is historically the Hispanic part of town because it is where the Spanish built their Missions (hence the name) way back when and is still 50% Latino. Recently it's being overrun by hipsters with their trendy restaurants and bars but its still where everyone comes for delicious burritos and every billboard here is in Spanish and all of the streets are named after historic Latino families. Because this is now my home, this book called out to me.
'Mexican Enough' is the story of Stephanie. A thirty something woman who is half Mexican and half white and grew up in South Texas and now wants to do some soul searching with her Mexican side. Along the way she documents gay rights, professional Mexican wrestling (luchadores!), undocumented workers, and native Indian struggles, among others.
What made this book fascinating for me was that Stephanie was so likable. I really rooted for her and wanted her to be able to find what she was looking for in Mexico. Also, all of the people she met in her travels were, at turns, funny, sweet, and heartbreaking. So it wasn't just a fact finding book to tell us how to fix all of the problems with Mexico or what America has done wrong, it showcased all of the people that make up that country. She presented many hard hitting facts, which were also fascinating and thought provoking and my boyfriend I think was annoyed at times because I'd be like, "did you know..." Seriously though, Mexico and the United States are forever tied so I found this book great and like I said, it wasn't just fact after fact. It was real people.
One final quote I'd like to leave you with that to me really summed up Ms. Griest's soul searching journey through Mexico: 'It goes without saying that I will never truly be Mexican, not even if I moved there for the rest of my life and acquired the requisite customs and traditions. Because what binds a people are their bedtime stores. The songs they sing on road trips. Political and historical events. Fads and crazes. Shared memories." Does she finds what she needs? You'll have to read it to find out!
(I bought this book at a garage sale)