EVENTUALLY, INEVITABLY: MY WRITING LIFE IN VERSE / TARDE O TEMPRANO ERA INEVITABLE: MI VIDA DE ESCRITOR EN VERSO
This bilingual memoir in verse for teens relates the development of a reader and writer while honoring his Mexican-American community.
by René Saldaña, Jr.
Publication Date: October 31, 2023
Format: Trade Paperback
Imprint: Piñata Books
Not yet published
When students ask author René Saldaña, Jr. how one becomes a writer, he says, “It’s complicated.” In this memoir written in verse for young adults, the author remembers his boyhood and the path that led to his becoming a reader, writer and scholar. He begins with “The Deets: My Parents as Kids,” and recounts “’Apá was born a long time ago / ‘Amá a few years after him.” His father finished elementary school in Mier, Tamaulipas, and then went to Nuevo Laredo to study machines. His parents married in Chihuahua, Texas: “It’s got one street / called Charco, or mud-puddle.”
René’s childhood along the Texas-Mexico border was filled with lots of family—cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents; his abuelo told countless stories that helped define the boy. He read magazines at the grocery store, watched his mother read Selecciones, the Spanish-language version of Reader’s Digest, and realized writing poetry was the way to get a girlfriend. But he remembers junior high school as “those blasted years” and the teachers “who made me fall / out of love with reading a book.” Later he found a book in the library in which he saw himself for the first time; there were kids that spoke Spanish, had brown skin and names like his.
This touching portrait depicts the development of a writer and the impact his rural, Mexican-American community had on his growth into a published author and university scholar. Written in an accessible style and available in a bilingual format, this moving and often humorous memoir in narrative verse will appeal to all teens. Young people of color and reluctant male readers will find it of particular interest.