The House at the End of Hope Street – Menna van Praag
“Distraught that her academic career has stalled, Alba is walking through her hometown of Cambridge, England, when she finds herself in front of a house she’s never seen before, 11 Hope Street. A beautiful older woman named Peggy greets her and invites her to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she has ninety-nine nights to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in.”
Julie’s comment: A quick, upbeat read with a few twists and a bit of light magic. Loved it!
“Domingo Martinez lays bare his interior and exterior worlds as he struggles to make sense of the violent and the ugly, along with the beautiful and the loving, in a Texas border town in the 1980s. Partly a reflection on the culture of machismo and partly an exploration of the author’s boyhood spent in his sister’s hand-me-down clothes,this book delves into the enduring, complex bond between Martinez and his deeply flawed but fiercely protective older brother, Daniel.Itfeatures a cast of memorable characters, including his gun-hoarding former farmhand, Gramma, and “the Mimis”— two of his older sisters who for a short, glorious time manage to transform themselves from poor Latina adolescents into upper-class white girls. Martinez provides a glimpse into a society where children are traded like commerce, physical altercations routinely solve problems, drugs are rampant, sex is often crude, and people depend on the family witch doctor for advice. Charming, painful, and enlightening, this book examinesthe traumas and pleasures of growing up in South Texas and the often terrible consequences when different cultures collide on the banks of a dying river.”
Julie’s comment: “A memoir of the author’s boyhood in South Texas in the 1980s. It give an insight to a very different culture from the one most of us have grown up in. Difficult in places, but also funny, thought-provoking, and rewarding.”