When I tell people who don't speak Spanish what prieta means - dark or the dark one - their eyes pop open and a small gasp escapes . . . How do I tell them that now, even after the cruelty of chil
When I tell people who don't speak Spanish what prieta means - dark or the dark one - their eyes pop open and a small gasp escapes . . . How do I tell them that now, even after the cruelty of children, Prieta means love? That each time Prieta fell from my grandmother's lips, I learned to love my dark skin.
No one calls me that anymore. I miss how her words sounded out loud.
My Ita called me Prieta. When she died, she took the name with her.
Anchored by the indomitable grandmother who taught her how to stand firm and throw a punch, debut author Yasmín Ramírez writes about the punches life has thrown at her non—traditional family of tough Mexican American women.
Having spent years of her twenties feeling lost - working an intensely taxing retail job and turning to bars for comfort?the blow of her grandmother's death pushes Yasmín to unravel. So she comes home to El Paso, Texas, where people know how to spell her accented name and her mother helps her figure out what to do with her life. Once she finally starts pursuing her passion for writing, Yasmín processes her grief by telling the story of her Ita, a resilient matriarch who was far from the stereotypical domestic abuelita. Yasmín remembers watching boxing matches at a dive bar with her grandmother, Ita wistfully singing old Mexican classics, her mastectomy scar, and of course, her lesson on how to properly ball your fist for a good punch. Interviewing her mom and older sister, Yasmín learns even more about why her Ita was so tough?the abusive men, the toil of almost literally back—breaking jobs, and the guilt of abortions that went against her culture.
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Yasmín Ramírez is a 2021 Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Author Fellow as well as a 2020 recipient of the Woody and Gayle Hunt—Aspen Institute Fellowship Award. Her fiction and creative nonfiction works have appeared in Cream City Review and Huizache, among others. She is an Assistant Professor of English, Creative Writing, and Chicanx Literature at El Paso Community College. She stays active in the Borderplex arts community and serves on the advisory board of BorderSenses, a literary non—profit. ¡Ándale, Prieta! is her first book. For more information about Yasmín, visit her website at yasminramirez.com
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Key Selling Points
This memoir marks the debut of an exciting new writer?a border—raised Latina with a fresh and immediate voice.
An intimate portrayal of hardships the author and her family struggled with?abusive relationships, divorce, absent parents, breast cancer, alcohol abuse?and how they fought back.
Yasmín's journey to finding a sense of fulfillment echoes the struggle many millennials are currently facing as they settle into adult life.
Yasmín paints an authentic picture of life at the vibrant, multicultural U.S.—Mexico border — combating negative stereotypes and lifting up this unique region of the country.
This beautifully open coming—of—age memoir by a Mexican American debut writer doubles as a love letter to the tough grandmother who raised her.
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"A hard—hitting and gorgeous debut. Yasmín Ramírez welcomes readers into the hot pink, humming, fighting, blossoming world of her El Paso childhood?and like her Grandma Ita, who looms large in these pages - Ramírez throws her punches without flinching while rendering her people and places with clear—eyed tenderness. An essential and stunning memoir."
?Sonja Livingston, author of Ghostbread
"Yasmín Ramírez's debut memoir delicately shows us what tough lessons, and even tougher people, have to teach us about love. That how we choose to love our family, our home and culture, almost always reveals how much, or little, we actually love ourselves. Funny and smart, ¡Ándale, Prieta! is a joy to read."
- Matt Mendez, author of Barely Missing Everything and Twitching Heart
"¡Ándale, Prieta! is an invitation into a home blessed with the aroma of caldio simmering on the stove. At the heart of this book is Ita, the indomitable matriarch whose scars are physical and mental and unspoken. From the point of view of her granddaughter, this unflinching memoir is a celebration of women working through the pain and earning the love in their lives. The authentic spirit of the writing is fleshed out in the landscape of El Paso, a US—Mexico border town, where cultures rest on a delicate edge, side by side, always touching. One essential lesson we learn from this extraordinary debut is the need to leave one's Home to embrace the sacred journey back to Family."
- Richard Yañez, author of El Paso del Norte: Stories on the Border