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MY MOTHER’S FUNERAL: a memoir ~Adriana Páramo


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

Adriana Páramo’s Blog  
Adriana Páramo on the Web

(TLC LOGO) I give great thanks to TLC online book tours and CavanKerry Press for the opportunity to review this book.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s  from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

Related Reading
Confessions of Joan the Tall 
Revere Beach Elegy  
The Paper Garden
I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag

9 Comments on “MY MOTHER’S FUNERAL: a memoir ~Adriana Páramo”

  1. #1 Laurie Buchanan
    on Jan 9th, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Patricia – You had me at, “Páramo actually writes her mother’s biography within her memoir and that is such an amazing story line in its own right.” Remarkable, indeed! Thank you for another wonderful review — I’ve added this book to my must-read list.

    Patricia Reply:

    It is quite the book Laurie and I still wish I had more of a cultural context for the hispanic culture and experiences – this book does some of that with the cross-cultural experiences of the author

    Have you checked out the Cavan Karry website? There is a link in the top of this post – Quite an extraordinary place to experience.
    Patricia recently posted..MY MOTHER’S FUNERAL: a memoir ~Adriana PáramoMy Profile

  2. #2 Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours
    on Jan 10th, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Wow, Carmen certainly had a difficult life … kudos to her daughter for sharing that with the world.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

    patricia Reply:

    Heather J
    I think some of the ordinary people need to have a great moment in the world and this was quite the story and she was determined that her children get the best education she demand of them – and make sure they did not end up in poverty.
    It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to read this book

  3. #3 Talon
    on Jan 12th, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Sounds like an interesting read, Patricia. Having recently lost my Mom, I don’t think I’d enjoy it at this particular time, but I can see you found value in it. I do so love your in-depth and thoughtful reviews.

    patricia Reply:

    Talon,
    Thank you for your good and kind words. It was good to have 6 years since my Mother’s death and yet I am learning so much about myself and mother/daughter relationships I am pushing to keep reading these words and memoirs.

    I do wish I knew more of Colombian Culture and History as I think that would have expanded the book even more

  4. #4 Sam Juliano
    on Jan 12th, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Patricia, this does sound like an extremely movie and heartbreaking memoir. Your description discussion of the book pulled me right in. Sad that the husband left, and that Carmen had to expend her blood, sweat and tears on the welfare of her children. Some did, however as you note, support her. I lost my own mother in 2003, one of the worst years of my life.

    Beautiful review here.

    patricia Reply:

    Sam,
    Mother loss, Father loss and any Parent loss seems to be extremely hard on folks – even if there is a moment of release/relief also.

    I have been enjoying reading these memoirs and books about the process of living and dying and it is very healing to my losses.

    I am still a bit angry at my father dying so young.

    I think this is a good way to learn history and very personal.

  5. #5 Adriana Páramo, author of My Mother’s Funeral, on tour January 2014 | TLC Book Tours
    on Jan 19th, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    […] Wednesday, January 8th:  Patricia’s Wisdom […]