Review of FAMILY RESEMBLANCE by Tanya Maria Barrientos
New American Library, July 2003
Review by Jennifer Vilches
Nita is trying to pull her life back together after divorce, while also caring for her father who she just moved to a nearby nursing home after a devastating stroke. Her parents never encouraged much interest in their past in Guatemala. So when Nita finds a mysterious letter from her aunt, whom she thought was long dead, her curiosity springs to life.
With the help of some old friends and a new friend, Juno, she uncovers some of her family's heritage and even more family secrets. She finds comfort in her needlework and in her job as a therapist, but will her fragile new relationship with Juno survive the turmoil of an unexpectedly dramatic history coupled with her father's illness?
Barrientos does an excellent job creating complex characters and interactions. I really cared about the people in Family Resemblance and laughed and cried with them. This is a touching story about love, loss, and relationships. I really liked Nita's strong character and the way the author delves into her heritage without dealing in stereotypes. Universal themes of dealing with grief, the importance of family ties and lifelong friendships, and the insecurities of new love all make this book easy to relate to.
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