Cover Image: The Family Izquierdo

The Family Izquierdo

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Member Reviews

Look at that cover!! Loving this read.

Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publishers for letting me read this title in exchange for my feedback.
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the dysfunctional family dynamics, the chaotic interaction, the various point of views, all of these had potential. i am not sure they do combine well together here but degollado is clearly a promising author and i'd read more by them.
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I will start out that I absolutely love the cover of this book, it is very beautiful. In working on trying to learn Spanish, I really enjoyed the bilingual language of this book. At times, I looked up phrases and words and other times I just read along and enjoyed the language. I love the author's descriptiveness and I enjoyed the setting and the storytelling.  I did however struggle to follow along with the plot and storyline, and I found it difficult to easily identify the main characters. I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 
A Mexican family in McAllen experience the American dream while holding onto their culture.
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While this had promise, it fell flat for me. However, I should state I'm not fond of the short story format, and there are many four and five star reviews. Please see those.

Mexicans have been in South Texas before Texas was a part of the United States. They are prevalent there still. As a native Texan, it was nice to finally see some representation for the area. There are issues revolving around race and immigration, but most of all, this is a story about family.

As Mexican Americans are involved, the idea of Catholicism and the Virgin Mary are tossed around a lot. I said earlier I "grew out of" Catholicism, but Cathy put it more eloquently as lapsed Catholic. Whatever your term is, I'm over the religion, but I did grow up in it enough to understand what's going on.

Newer not-quite bilingual books often insert the language without translating it. I saw some reviewers complain, but I like this format. So what if you don't always understand it? Sometimes it's not for you to understand. If you care that much, use your smartphone and translate it.

I found the short story format confusing and disjointed. For this reason, it was hard for me to follow the family's story. By the time we got around to the curse, I was confused, because I wasn't really following what was happening.
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McAllen Tx, and I myself being from Weslaco Tx completely fell for the book. I loved being able to read descriptions of places and reading street names and completely being engulfed with vivid memories of the locations the author spoke of.
I know this won't happen to every reader seeing not everyone is from the Rio grande Valley.
The authors writing of tex-mex or spanglish made me feel right at home. It almost felt like the author had me over for cafecito and was telling me his story instead of me reading it.
The story itself was written about 3 generations and no matter how diffrent those generations life had a way of intertwining them with curses? The family Izquierdo is full of love and each generation must navigate life along a curse that seems to date back generations.
Overall this story was such a heartfelt family story. The author has such a nice way of writing each generation in diffrent lighting but it all beautifully intertwine.
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Excuse me while I gush a bit. This was excellent in a way that I didn't expect. It reminded me a little of Catedrales by Claudia Piñeiro in that it had different POVs in each chapter and the character voices were sometimes so distinctive that I could tell who was talking without any reminder. This shouldn't be rare, but it is! I love it when an author can put their writing style aside to give their character a voice; this did it so well.

Then there is the element of culture that is at the heart of this narrative. Fantastic. I am Puerto Rican, not Mexican, and yet I could still feel all the common threads that unite us as Hispanics. The sense of family, the weird mesh of religiosity with magic (good and bad), and the characters that fill our life with awe and dread. I loved this. It felt nostalgic and true.

I do fear that people will not like the episodic nature of the book (it is labeled as stories for good reason -- to set an expectation-- even though I would argue this is a Novel through and through.) There is a point and there is a narrative thread but the way the chapters (or "stories") are arranged can leave the reader disoriented and confused. I think this works though, but I can see this as a possible negative.

There is a lot of untranslated Spanish, although I do feel the context will work well enough for those instances. It does, however, feel like this is a book not only about Hispanidad but also for Hispanics. and I'm okay with that!
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The Family Izquierdo
     by Ruben Degollado

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 dear 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 memembers. 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.

Add The Family Izquierdo to your Hispanic Heritage Month TBR!  My genuine thanks to @NetGalley, @Ruben_Degollado and @WWNorton for an advance digital copy in return for an honest review.
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First off, as a Latina, I loved that this story focuses on a Latino family and the author integrated Spanish and slang throughout the dialogue of the characters. The story of the Izquierda Family and it’s eventual loss of patriarch, Papa Tavo, is told through vignettes about different family members and jumps timelines however it wasn’t difficult to follow. There were multiple relatable themes of religion, family tradition, family member dynamics to name just a few and perhaps not so relatable for everyone, belief in curses determining the fate of this family. It was an enjoyable read overall.
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Thanks so much to the publisher and to NetGalley for giving me access to this book. I really enjoyed this book and will be recommending it to readers looking for a book about extended families and all the drama that comes with family!
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Oh how I loved this story. A bit of magical realism, mysticism, family drama, and  a generational tale. Very well written and will remember it for a long time. Look forward to more by this author.
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Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Over the course of three generations, we follow the Izquierdo family as life sends them up emotional hills, and into deep valleys. What worked the best for me was that even though the hard times could be REALLY hard, the family stuck together and held each other up in support.

Some family sagas don't quite include the loving aspect that we got here, and for that they suffer. THE FAMILY IZQUIERDO is bound to end up remembered and loved for a long time.
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Rubén Degollado gives an intimate portrayal of the life of a Mexican-American family in Texas that often hits close to home. Through interconnected short stories told from the points of view of various members of the Izquierdo family, Degollado weaves an overall story that is at once fantastical, emotional, and grounded in a reality that will feel heartbreakingly familiar to anyone who understands it. As a Mexican-American chicana myself, I can say with no level of over exaggeration that Degollado has spoken to my heart in a way that would be impossible for anyone who is not also Mexican-American. These are stories that deserve to be told -- that have always deserved to be told. I'm glad they finally are.
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I’m so grateful that I got to read this text. I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to making some videos for my TIkTok and other social media channels to recommend it to my friends and followers. It was an excellent read! 5/5 stars. I’m going to write a longer and more detailed review on my Goodreads and TikTok and I will link back once I’ve posted.
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Once I started reading, I could not put this book down, it just called to me! The Rio Grande Valley setting brought back so many memories of places that no longer exist. The music of Selena plays a feature roll in this book.  What a wonderful time to be growing up surrounded by family, Hispanic traditions and the music of Selena!  This book will give you a glimpse inside a family, along with a touch of mysticism. This book is riveting.
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The Family Izquierdo is a multi-generational saga following three generations of the familia Izquierdo.  The story is told as a series of vignettes. 

I was immediately enamored with the Izquierdo family. There was a sense of uncanny familiarity - from the love of Tejano music, to Selena references to curses, food, brujeria and family dynamics.  I couldn't help but relate to the dysfunctional family that is bound by both misfortune and love. 

Growing up it was a reality that I wouldn't be able to relate to characters in books but this book made me feel seen. I loved it.
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There was a time of my life when I read mostly book by Latinx and South American authors. This is one of those I would have loved then and loved now.
A colourful story of a family, a pinch of magic realism, characters larger than life, and a well plotted story.
I loved it and hope to read other books by this author.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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One of the best books I read this month and maybe also this year? It follows three generations of family (and I loveeeee generational stories) as they are grappling with the different misfortunes that the family faces throughout generations, and then finding out that htey have been cursed by a jealous neighbor. Each chapter/story follows a different family member and they all deal with this curse in a totally different way - some not wanting to believe it at all, some turning to religion, some blaming mental illness, etc. etc. and the most beautiful part about this book is that despite all the differences between each family member and each way they decided to cope - they are all bounded together by the love they have for one another. At the end of the day, despite all differences, they will come together to help, support, and love each other. super super beautiful! 

Each family member was so real and I loved them like they were my own. Definitely going to buy a copy of my own when it comes out on September 6! Thanks netgalley for the early copy~
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“The Family Izquierdo,” by Ruben Degollado, is a deeply connected, touching and entertaining group of short stories that take us through the ups and downs of a large Mexican American family and its many descendants.

Is there a curse on this family from a jealous neighbor? Or are some of their problems the result of mental illness that runs in the family? I can’t say I ever quite decided as a reader, but I really enjoyed reading the stories from the perspectives of different generations of the family. If you, like me, were raised in a large Catholic family, you’ll find some points of laughter and resonance.

Each story and generation held my interest, and while I did get lost occasionally, I didn’t let that bother me. I also thought that Degollado did an excellent job at writing from women’s perspectives, something male writers often botch.

At the same time, I wished I had more of a sense of forward movement in the characters’ emotional lives over the course of generations, and occasionally, I felt like the story was a little bit superficial in the narrative sense. It didn’t always take me where I hoped it would in terms of chances with the characters’ arcs.

Overall, this was an engrossing, entertaining read, and I look forward to other books by Degollado.
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A Mexican family living in Texas - as seen through the eyes of each member, in interconnected short stories.
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