Saturday, June 20, 2009

Living at Night by Mariana Romo-Carmona

Living at Night is a novel that I read for my now defunct Lesbian Book Club.

When selecting this book, I was suggestively promised an intelligent novel that dealt with race, class and disability from a lesbian point of view. Romo-Carmona writes about a young latina woman who works in a facility for the mentally retarded and disabled. On the side, she has some relationship issues. She also has a great deal of car trouble.

Either of these plot lines could become intriguing stories, but unfortunately neither does. We simply don't get to know the characters - from the protagonist, to her ex, to her best friend, to her patients - well enough to care. It is all too vague, superficial, and becomes more of a day-in-the-life account with very little plot. Protagonist goes to work, leaves work, thinks about her ex, talks with her best friend, repeat cycle. We, as a reader's group, were all disappointed in what was done with the concepts involved when contrasted with what could have been done. We felt that we simply weren't given very much. One member of my group noted that she couldn't create a picture in her mind of what the characters look like, though there were descriptions of the characters; I remember very specifically because they were so dry.

One issue for sure is that there were so many possibilities that didn't come to fruition - several candidates for romance were passed over, and several opportunities to create profound, meaningful characters out of the patients at the hospital were passed over in preference to simply skimming over all of them.

I think that would be my review in summary - the potential of this novel simply didn't come to fruition. The major issues at hand (race, class, disability) weren't really explored in depth, nor the relationships. Thus, instead of an intelligent rendering of a latina lesbian working with disabled women and resolving her previous romantic relationship, we got what sounded more like the diary of a bored teenager. - 2 stars

3 comments:

Amanda said...

Doesn't sound like a great one. Sorry your club has gone defunct. If you're interested, I'm hosting a GLBT reading challenge over at The Zen Leaf. It's from July 1st to Dec 31st, 6 books on GLBT themes or by GLBT authors.

Jason Gignac said...

Thought you might be interested, someone cross-posted you...

http://lesbian.oz-blog.org/?p=1707

Amber said...

Yeah, Amanda, it was disappointing...I might take you up on that challenge, though time for reading is decreasing what with the new job...

Thanks for the link, Jason...I didn't know about cross-posting..that's interesting...