Soy La Avon Lady and Other Stories (Paperback)
Curbstone Press, 9781880684863, 238pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2002
Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories, is a stunning debut collection of short stories that explore identity issues in the Latino community. The cast of characters in her stories include a young boy-impelled by his guilt over failing to prevent his parents' divorce-who seeks to save an abandoned baby, an elderly man attempting to invoke his dead wife by regularly donning her clothing and make-up, a former National Guardsman whose failed attempts to connect with his family do not prevent him from trying, and a young woman determined to give birth to her murdered lover's child. In the title story, an aging Avon representative, who is often mistaken for a transvestite, has become so estranged from the Spanish language she spoke as a child that she no longer remembers that she spoke it or what happened in her childhood. Many of the characters in these stories must negotiate differences in race, culture, language, class, and gender in attempts to discover who they are and where they are going. Lopez's vivid characters struggle both to find a place of belonging and companions who can accept them, as well as self-forgiveness for the compromises they made in living necessarily bifurcated lives as they attempt to breech the gap between cultures.