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Fifteen Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and other Quinceanera Stories Paperback – June 12, 2007

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The quinceañera celebration, with its crowds of admiring family and friends focused on a 15-year-old Latina as she officially comes of age, often evokes wistful, reverential memories—the priest's blessing, the quinceañera's court members in their elaborate matching gowns, the opening slow dance of the quince with her father. The stories in this collection, however, recall different sorts of memories: a father who's out on parole; the lesbian mother who beds her daughter's boyfriend; the horny bad boys smoking doobies in the parking lot; the drunks in tuxedos puking in the bushes; the former girlfriends catfighting on the dance floor. Instead of sentimentalizing the Hispanic family and the sacred quinceañera, these 15 authors (a third of whom are men) take off the white gloves and talk about what goes on in real families. They talk about not having a quince because their families were too poor or their mamis too liberated. They talk about dysfunctional relatives and getting wretchedly drunk at parties and falling in love with the wrong people—just like everyone else in this world. Lopez, writer and former editor of Críticas magazine, writes in her introduction that the stories she's selected are linked by humor, sadness, and a lot of self-discovery. Many readers—especially 20 or 30-somethings—will find the honesty liberating. (June)
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From Booklist

In terms that vary from frank and irreverent to tender and even a little sapppy, 15 writers tell personal stories about a quinceanera, the traditional celebration that marks a Latina's fifteenth birthday. Some teens grab the chance to be a grown-up princess. In contrast, a Cuban immigrant remembers hating her party as a refugee "straitjacket"; but now she is appalled that her own daughter wants it all with lace, ruffles, and pearls. Of course, it is a coming-of-age landmark, and many remember the universals of trying to navigate the signals and subtleties, to look cute and sexy, but not like a zorra (whore). Party guests write, too, including male family members, escorts, lovers. The diversity is a big part of the fun across ethnicity, class, generation, and sexual orientation. Some want a quiet religious ceremony; some want to rent Disney World. But as Lopez points out in her great introduction, the "quinces" are having a comeback in the U.S., and however diverse, all do include the expectations, the nerves, and eventually the messy mush of memories. Rochman, Hazel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006124192X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061241925
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,962,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I never thought that I was a fan of short story collections, but I have become a great fan of memoir. I really loved this collection of fifteen different coming of age stories featuring the quinceanera. The length of each story was perfect to read in one sitting, and the fact that they were tied together by the common theme of the quinceanera still made it read like a single work.

If you were a teen in the 80's like I was, you will especially appreciate many of the stories which reference this time period. Anyone who has a teen (or remembers his or her own teen years) will appreciate this stumble down the memory lane of crushes, the quest for popularity and acceptance, feeling too fat or ugly or awkward, rebelling against your parents but craving the stability of tradition.
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If you want to escape your life for a bit and laugh and cry a little, read this book! It is highly entertaining. And, it made me SUPER appreciative of my own Quinceanera, many many years ago.
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I bought this book thinking I could use of the stories in my classroom. Nope! It provided fairly amusing background information for me but not what I was looking for.
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