Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano

Evelyn lives in Spanish Harlem in 1969. She is concerned with straightening her hair for her new job at the five and dime and is frequently annoyed with her meek mother who is only concerned with working at the family bodega.  When Evelyn's grandmother comes to stay with the family Evelyn is at first horrified by how garishly dressed she is and her bright orange clown hair. Despite her disdain, Evelyn is also fascinated by the stories of Abuela's days as an activist in Puerto Rico and by the stark contrast between her mother and Abuela.  One day a group of college age young adults are in the neighborhood cleaning up the trash that clutters the streets.  Evelyn learns that the group calls themselves the Young Lords and that her Abuela is working with them to gain more rights for Hispanics.  Soon, Evelyn finds herself fascinated by the Young Lords movement and feels herself changing in ways she hadn't expected.  This book was written by "Maria" of Sesame Street fame and is based on her personal experiences.  Although the subject is important I found the writing didactic and had a hard time buying the transformation.  I wanted it to be better than it was.