Five Books by Latinx Authors All Feminists Should Read
Posted on September 13, 2021
by Rebecca S
For decades, Latinx authors have written empowering stories of women navigating family, culture and societal norms to find their true selves. In honor of Latinx Culture Month, and in the spirit of intersectional feminism, The Steinem Sister Collection has compiled a list of five books by Latinx authors that every feminist should read.
Juliet Takes a Breath follows the story of Juliet Palante, a queer puertorriqueña who leaves the Bronx for a summer in Portland, Oregon where she gets a crash course in first love and feminist radical politics, and realizes there really is no place like home and family. The stream of consciousness writing style of Rivera is perfect and pulls you inside the mind of an 18-year-old in 2003 seeking adventure and knowledge, all the while learning to speak her truth without shame.
Writing in a lyrical mixture of Spanish and English, Anzaldúa meditates on the condition of Chicanos in Anglo culture, women in Hispanic culture, and lesbians in the straight world – moving from the plight of undocumented migrant workers to memories of her grandmother, from Aztec religion to the agony of writing. Anzaldúa, a Chicana native of Texas, explores the murky, precarious existence of those living on the frontier between cultures, languages, and the ever-present shadow of colonization.
Julia Alvares’s In the Time of Butterflies may be a work of historical fiction, but the events and the people the author details were very real. Patria, Minerva and María Teresa Mirabal—three sisters from a middle-class family, all married with children may not have seemed the most likely revolutionaries. But living under the Dominican Republic’s brutal dictator Rafael Trujillo in the late 1950s, the Mirabal sisters risked their lives to work in the resistance. Their brutal assassinations on November 25, 1960, turned the Mirabal sisters into symbols of feminist resistance and martyrs for the cause of freedom in the Dominican Republic.
In the Dream House is a memoir that journeys through a maze of stories, each vignette an individual room containing a moment of wonder, curiosity or sorrow. At the center of this Dream House is an abusive relationship, which continually sends Machado through the corridors of her youth, in which she recalls other times she felt broken and other ways she fortified her spirit. Machado states that “the memoir is, at its core, an act of resurrection,” where she gathers the pieces in order to remake from the ruins.
This is not the first nor probably the last time This Bridge Called My Back will be seen on a list of feminists must reads. The importance of this book is the creation of intersectional feminist and as a foundational stone for the emergence the more inclusive feminist movement seen today cannot be overstated. This Bridge Called My Back provides its reader a rich and diverse account of the experience and analyses of women of color through its collective ethos and its political rage – told beautifully through a mix of poetry, critique, fiction and testimony.