MY MOTHER’S FUNERAL is the third book I have been asked to review by CavanKerry Press LTD. I have enjoyed each proceeding book and I knew I was in for a treat with this newest arrival. I was not disappointed. The Press is dedicated to bringing voice to lives and the arts as a non-profit literary organization.
Páramo actually writes her mother’s biography within her memoir and that is such an amazing story line in its own right. As an anthropologist, (first a geophysicist engineer) there are details within the culture that we would miss with our outside eye and which the author cleverly includes giving us depth. The author’s relationship with her mother is not an easy journey. Carmen, the very vocal mother, married at 19 to her passing through dance partner, then packed a trunk full of her things and followed him to another city, through a revolution (The Violence), it was a very radical start point. They were awakened the first night (staying in a brothel) and had to make a wild escape from the guerrillas, drug lords or a jealous husband and the trunk was abandoned.
Carmen decided right then and there to be a good wife and to never complain about her husband. She would just make due. In reality her husband was a contractor and drove a bulldozer. He travelled far and wide for work, funds to bring home, other women, dancing and drinking.
One son was born and then 4 daughters, a pregnancy every time he returned home to share some money with the family. He did not want any more children and the family lived on a wish and a promise. The schedule of Carmen’s day included in the book is exhausting to study and the children all took treats to school to sell to keep the family in food. When the son was 19, father came home once again and Adriana was the 6th child. When Adriana was about 5 her father stopped coming home all together. The older 4 children went to school at night and all went to work during the day. The older 3 girls supported Carmen and the 2 youngest daughters for all of their lives; until the youngest left Columbia for Alaska.
Carmen worked herself to exhaustion making sure each of her children had a full university education. She had many, many rules about men and sexuality and then opinions about everything else. She never wanted her children, especially her daughters to be a “beast of burden or a mule”; hand washing, starching and ironing the school uniforms because her family was poor not filthy. There was only basic education for her and she understood how limiting this was towards living a good life.
MY MOTHER’S FUNERAL is primarily about Páramo’s years under her mother’s care and wisdom. For a few parts of the story I was a bit upset that she did not help with the care of her mother as she became disoriented and old, rather Páramo left the country to lead her own life. Carmen was rather awful to her care givers in her later years and the few minutes of phone calls from sisters and mother did not give Páramo a full picture of all the fired assistants and nursing care. We can easily read that her siblings are still supporting Páramo emotionally even at the funeral and wake, and yet it is her voice which is able to distance itself and tell us the story, making this a wonder full memoir to read.
“I owe everything I am to the women in my family – to my sisters and Mom.”
You will find a good read and a good cultural study in MY MOTHER’S FUNERAL
(TLC LOGO) I give great thanks to TLC online book tours and CavanKerry Press for the opportunity to review this book.