The Last of the Menu Girls
By Denise Chávez
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400034314, 240pp.)
Publication Date: April 13, 2004
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Rocío Esquibel is a girl growing up in a Southern New Mexico town with her mother and sister. She defines her neighborhood by its trees—the willow, the apricot and the one they call the marking-off tree. Rocio knows she was born in the closet where she and her sister now take turns looking at the picture of Jesus whose eyes light up in the dark. But at night she enters a magical realm, and in her imaginary Blue Room, she can fly. At first she is a mesmerized observer of the lives of older girls and their boyfriends, but as she finds a job at the local hospital, and discovers a passion for drama and stories, Rocio begins to make her own choices in love and work.
Alive with the taste of tamales and the lyrical tang of the Esquibels’ talk, The Last of the Menu Girls becomes a rich celebration of Chicano culture, and a universal story of finding one’s way in the world.
Denise Chávez is the author of Loving Pedro Infante and Face of an Angel, which won the American Book Award. She is the recipient of a Lila Acheson Wallace/Reader’s Digest Fund Writer’s Award and a founder of the Border Book Festival in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she lives with her husband, Daniel Zolinsky.
"These stories fairly shimmer with the warmth, tones, and language of the Southwest."--Library Journal
“A richness of texture and images [is] characteristic of Chavez’s writing. . . . These stories provide a clear glimpse into the world of New Mexico, of Hispanic customs and wisdoms, the grace that may, and did, come with a hard living.” –Santa Fe Reporter
“A valuable contribution to Chicana literature.” --Choice
“Chavez draws carefully detailed, emotionally convincing portraits of the lives of ordinary people” --Newsday