by Mary Ann G: The patriarch of this tight knit but imperfect family is on his death bed. The family Izquierdo reflects on the past that has made them who they are, the present which at times seems clear but incomprehensible, and of their hopes for future generations. The book is told as a collection of vignettes, which are intended to be experienced as if you are part of the family, sharing in the intimate stories, oral history and mythology of the Izquierdo’s. These are heartfelt tales of fortitude and resilience, successes and misfortunes, betrayals and forgiveness, miracles and curses as seen through the eyes of various family members. But mostly, these narratives are about the love that endures and binds them to one another.

In the author’s acknowledgements, he gives “thanks to the first people who lived in what we now call the Río Grande Valley of Texas, the Mexican Americans who lived here when it was still the country of their birth, and those who came after when it wasn’t.” These are stories that warmed my heart, made me laugh and deserve to be told. Reading parts of The Family Izquierdo made me feel nostalgic for an earlier time in my life. I felt like I was sitting around my mother’s table with all the tias making tortillas and spilling the latest family gossip, while my father and tios fired up the grill in the back yard. The stories, places, language, music and supernatural tales all felt like home. If these are not your roots, Degollado has opened the door for you and welcomes you to the table.