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Book Review
Jose B. Gonzalez

Lavando La Dirty Laundry
by Natalia Trevińo

Natalia Trevi
ńo’s poetry collection, Lavando La Dirty Laundry, begins with a powerful poem about her grandmother’s nostalgic love of the color white.  The poem, “Zapatos Blancos,” is so emotive that it begs to be read and reread. And as one continues with the rest of the book, it becomes clear that this author believes in putting all emotion into every single poem and that each poem touches the reader in the gut and in the heart.

While not all of the poems are connected to the grandmother, most tie back thematically in one way or other to her and to women of her generation.  An example is “Tia Licha,” about an aunt who on the outside had admirable physical strength yet up to age seventy “thought sex was nothing but a violation.”  The grandmother and so many of the women of her era are both iron-willed and a product of a society that expected them to fulfill certain maternal roles that limited their full freedom to be entirely independent. The vivid experiences in poems like “Lavando La Dirty Laundry,” and “Tortilla Skins,” where the grandmother’s lessons seem at first to be about domestic chores, like cleaning and cooking, serve both to educate and inspire. The lessons learned are eloquently carried on and subtly reconnected in poems like “Wedding Dress,” and in touching and sometimes somewhat humorous poems about the poet’s son. What follow are poems about the beginning and end of familial and romantic love.

In short,
Lavando La Dirty Laundry is one of the best books of the year--in any genre. This collection proves that Trevińo is part master storyteller and a natural poet.  It is not only a must-read, it is a must-reread.

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Copyright 2006 design and content by John S. Christie and Jose B. Gonzalez
Copyright 2006 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature, Pearson Education, Inc.
Copyright 2006 Latino Fiction and the Modernist Imagination, John S. Christie