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Try to Remember    by Iris Gomez order for
Try to Remember
by Iris Gomez
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2010 (2010)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Try to Remember is a compelling story told by fifteen year-old Gabriela, an immigrant from Columbia. Her fears of deportation take a back seat to the problems generated by her father's craziness.

It really started when he was laid off from his job and the family moved from the North to Miami. Unfortunately he brought his restrictive culture with him and kept a close eye on his only daughter. Mami (Gabriela's mother) tried to keep peace by agreeing with him on the rearing of their daughter. Weeks turned to months as Papi's condition worsened and his unreasonable and frightening rages became more destructive. He turned his bile on his family as they lived in fear of provoking another rampage.

Gabriela fought with herself to be the dutiful daughter, while also wanting to be an American kid without all the onerous restrictions placed upon her.

Her life just went from bad to worse such a sad rendering that one cannot help but feel compassion for the child. What is memorable though is the telling of the story by author Iris Gomez. Try to Remember has been told gently, without embellishments while recounting the history of a dysfunctional family. Not asking the reader to judge but to understand. The plot flows as the dialogue takes us into this family as an observer, where we see that life can take turns we never would have anticipated.

Try to Remember is a book well worth reading. If for no other reason but for us to realize that all is not as it seems.

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