Monday, July 24, 2006

BBC: The Dirty Girls Social Club (Day 1)

I am very eager to start the fourth selection of our Bitches Book Club, The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez. So far this has been my absolute favorite. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping you guys enjoyed it at least half as much as I did. *smile*

This book is the rare combination of: writing that is fresh, smart and funny; characters that are vibrant, exasperating and real; and a story that is poignant, bittersweet and beautiful.

I cannot convey how touching I found this novel, especially being a Latina in my mid-twenties. I felt these women could easily be anyone I know that has migrated to the United States. How different things look from the outside once we know the inside!

Enough blabbing then, let’s proceed to the questions:
  • How do you think Rebecca’s husband was raised to view Latinos? How does this impact their marriage? Is his disappointment in her fair, in your opinion?
  • How could it be that Sara’s home life and the image her friends have of her could be so different? Why do you think she hid the truth for so long?
  • Why does Gato finally stray in his relationship with Amber? How does Amber react? By contrast, how do you think Lauren might have reacted in the same situation?
  • Why does Usnavys think she needs to find a rich man? What in her past makes her believe this? How does this belief impact her happiness?

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28 comment(s):

Blogger Harlot said...

1. I think the main reason Brad married Rebecca is because she's Latina. Or for him, she embodied what he thinks Latina women should be. So with all the changes (she started her own business, she became more independent of him, etc) he didn't like that.

Of course it wasn't fair, he's a stupid ass! I think he's never really been in love with her, just the idea of her. Why couldn't he just be supportive?

2. Sara blamed herself of what's been happening in her marriage with that fucker. I think she was ashamed. That she, an intelligent woman, would tolerate his husband's abuse, she even justifies his actions. Que horror.

3. Gato is an insecure, weak man, and he's threatened with Amber's success. Good for Amber to get rid of him, bastard. A man like that would only bring you pain. And she's a strong woman. I think she really loved this Gato guy, too bad he wasn't man enough for her.

Oh if it was Lauren who's in Amber's shoes, she would be maaad, would probably kill him LOL. And then she'd crumble.

4. Usnavys was a BIG bitch! HATE HATE HATE the way she's treated Juan. Oh he's such a darling. She doesn't deserve him if you ask me! She thinks she always deserved more than what people gives her, that everything she got isn't enough. Even if she doesn't need more. Navy's been pining for something she thought would make her happy when everything she ever needed is already there in her life.

7/24/2006 08:54:00 AM  

Blogger Isabella said...

Rebecca's husband was such a bastard! I think he wanted her to be a bum too like him lol and just remain as the "perfect wife" (someone who does what he wants) for him.

I agree with Harlot. I think Sara was ashamed that she let those things happen to her. I don't know what really goes on in a mind of a battered wife, but Sara actually blames herself. What is that? I think one of the reason why she didn't say anything about it, she's probably thinking, "They wouldn't understand..." :( Poor Sara. I feel sorry for her and Elizabeth.

If Gato was Lauren's husband, oh she would loose it! She would probably turn into Roberto and kick the shit out of Gato. LOL

I hate Usnavys! How could she treat Juan like that?!? Usnavys is one of those materialistic people, she values things through their prices. She loves Juan but won't let her in her life just because he's not rich.

Loved this book! Can't wait for the next selection. :)

7/24/2006 11:01:00 AM  

Blogger Lola Lovegood said...

1) Brad thought Rebecca would be “earthy” (what ever that means). I think he wanted a woman who would stay at home too cook and nurture him. Someone that embodies what a mother should be, since his was so cold and distant. He should have hired a maid instead of marrying someone =P


2) Sarah honestly disappointed me. How could she put up with all that? I think she didn’t tell her friends because she was embarrassed and wanted them to believe that her life was perfect even without a great career like all the other Sucias had.

3) Gato strayed because he was jealous of Amber and he couldn’t take being second best anymore. That young girl gave him the adoration that amber would get from her fans, and that made him feel like less of a loser. Lauren would have screamed and yelled and gone crazy, amber was very calm, cool and collected.

4) Usnavys thinks she needs a rich man because she knows what being very poor and going hungry is and she doesn’t want to live through that again. She will never be happy unless she lets go of the past and concentrate on the good things that are happening in her present.

7/24/2006 11:08:00 AM  

Blogger Isabella said...

I can't believe Roberto didn't get caught! That bastard! He should rot in jail!!!

7/24/2006 11:14:00 AM  

Blogger Dakota Cassidy said...

Crimeny! ANother book I haven't read :(

I need to get out more. LOL

DC :)

7/24/2006 12:02:00 PM  

Blogger C Bradshaw said...

1. Rebecca's husband is disappointed in her because she's not a "real Latina"? And who is he? He's not even Latino! He's a fucking idiot.

2. I feel so sorry for Sara. Why would anyone put up with such cruelty? I don't get it. Is it because of her boys? She actually thought that what's happening to her is fine.

3. Gato is one of those stupid "macho" guys and he can't take it that his woman is more successful than him. She's better off without him. Lauren would have kicked his ass. That woman has violent steaks!

4. Usnavys is a proud Latina, she accomplished a lot so she has all the right to be. But she uses her achievements like a shield because she's afraid to go back to being as desolate as they were once when she was a kid. Which is why she cannot let herself love Juan, a guy without money.

Loved this book, ladies! :D

7/24/2006 12:08:00 PM  

Blogger Lorelei said...

Rebecca's husband doesn't work, but his parents are very wealthy. He spends his time researching, but what appealed to Rebecca before doesn't now. She established her own successful magazine and as a woman of the business world, she soon finds out she may not be as happy as she pretends. The same goes for Brad. He doesn't like her as the business woman. It's because he's such a loser.

Sara is afraid of Roberto. She's embarrassed too at how things go with her and her husband. I think she didn't tell the sucias what's happening in her because they all adore Roberto and even wish they can have a guy like him, the wonderful, well-paid lawyer, the perfect guy.

Amber is a weird girl. LOL I really don't get that Mexicana movement. But Gato is a weak loser who's jealous of her blossoming career. If that was Lauren, she'll probably do the same thing as she did to Ed.

Usnavys is very materialistic. She knows it and doesn't care. There's nothing wrong with enjoying the things you've worked hard for. However, she won't let herself love Juan, a poor man, because he can't afford to provide all the material things she wants.

7/24/2006 12:35:00 PM  

Blogger Jolie said...

I agree with all your answers, ladies. And I really liked this book, it's very entertaining. But am I the only one who couldn't relate to any of the characters? Is it because I'm not Latina? I can't even relate to Lauren, and she's the least Latina of all the sucias!

7/24/2006 01:55:00 PM  

Blogger Jordis said...

1. Brad is a moron. Like Lola and Casey mentioned, he wants Rebecca to stay "earthy" and a "real Latina".

2. Sara is a battered wife and most of them are afraid. Afraid of her husband, afraid for her kids, afraid of what society would feel/do about her situation.

3. Gato, another moron. He's jealous of Amber! Or Quicato? I can't remember Amber's new name. LOL He saw a young girl who worships him and will make him feel "the man" again. Oh please.

I think Lauren would do the same with Ed, attack Gato and if he lets her, would castrate him. LOL

4. Usnavys makes me angry! Here's a man who's so in love with her, crazy about her and what does she do? Repeatedly breaks his heart!!! What a bitch!

7/24/2006 04:31:00 PM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

Great discussion, I want to join! But I haven't read the book. I don't even have a copy, yikes. Anyway, I'm not sure how the BBC works yet, but what's going to be the next book? :)

7/24/2006 04:39:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

1. I can't honestly remember Rebecca's husband! LOL He was mentioned, like what, two pages the whole book? Now, ask me about Andre, HIM I remember. He's sexy. :P

2. I agree with everyone, Sara is ashamed. She can't even open up about it with her friends.

3. Gato is a freaking retard, an insecure little man who can't take it that his wife is doing better than him. I think if it was Lauren in Amber's place, it would be a lot messier fight.

4. Usnavys, I hate her too! OMG I can't believe she turned down Juan in her apartment! And she loves him! I think she lets her past, her father abandoning them, his brother's death, affect her life too much. She'd rather be with a rich man than be with the poor man she loves.

7/24/2006 05:09:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

Lollie, announcement of book selection is every first of the month. You should join us next time!

(whispers) I'm hoping it would be PG's The Other Boleyn Girl. :P

7/24/2006 05:11:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

1. I think Rebecca's husband is a FOOL! She's beautiful, successful and a great wife. What is wrong with men?!?

2. I agree, Sara's afraid and embarrassed. I can't blame her. If I were in her situation, I would be too. But I would leave Roberto immediately, not just for myself but for my children's safety as well.

3. Gato is an insecure man, and he's jealous of Amber. So he took that young groupie, someone who would make him feel more "manly" and more superior. Oh please.

4. Usnavys. Sigh, where do I begin. Of all the six girls, she's the worst. She has a man who truly loves her, but she doesn't want to be with him because he's poor! She blames everything on Juan, she insults him, she complains about his clothes, his lifestyle, what he does. It's not like he's not trying! It's not like he's a poor bum! Aaarrgh!!! I don't think her dad's abandonment of them justifies the way she treats Juan. She's a fool! Like that stupid ex of Rebecca's!

7/24/2006 05:27:00 PM  

Blogger C Bradshaw said...

Petra, I agree. Andre is very sexy. ;)

7/24/2006 06:43:00 PM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

Isabella, thanks for the info. I would like it too if the next book would be The Other Boleyn Girl.

7/24/2006 07:01:00 PM  

Anonymous Ollenska said...

Rebecca is my favorite sucia. I'm glad she got rid of that loser of a husband. I agree with you guys, he's an idiot.

I related to Sara. I felt angry at times that her experience with violence is so parallel to what many women endure right now. She's ashamed of the beatings but afraid to tell it to her friends or anyone.

Usnavys is so annoying! Harlot's right, she doesn't deserve Juan. She's a tough woman who wants to make sure people know she, a girl from the block, really made it and doesn't want to be part of it anymore. That's why she denies Juan.

I think this book transcends cultures and boundaries, so whether you are Asian, Anglo, or African American, you will still relate to their experiences and plights. Loved it!

7/24/2006 07:55:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

Olly, Rebecca's my favorite too! Am sooo glad she got Andre. I loved that scene where they were dancing and he asked her if she's happily married. OMG if Brad is my husband, I would leave him too to be with Andre! LOL Not that Rebecca left him. He's actually the one who left! Oh sometimes, the stupidity of men astounds me.

7/24/2006 08:03:00 PM  

Anonymous tinker bell said...

I felt so sorry for Sara. She lost everything. Although after the incident, she was freed from Roberto. I can't imagine how hard it must be to live like that, in constant fear of your own husband who could kill you any minute.

Amber I don't get lol. She's just plain weird.

I hate Usnavys! It's one thing to be ambitious and have high standard, but she's just plain materialistic. Too materialistic she would sacrifice Juan, the only man who could make her happy.

I really loved this book because of the diversity portrayed by each character. Each woman in the novel is educated, and unique in her own way. I didn't see them as "Latina" or "typical", but as a reenactment of a few of the women I went to school with, work with, or just see in my everday life. Hell, some bits and pieces of each remind me of myself!

7/24/2006 09:10:00 PM  

Blogger Jordis said...

I vote for The Other Boleyn Girl for the next selection! :P

7/24/2006 09:24:00 PM  

Blogger Gun_Wielding_Bitch said...

I think Rebecca’s husband, Brad, was raised to view Latinos as poor, uneducated people that are second rate humans. It seems Brad was kind of the loser of the family and he was looking for someone that would not only piss off his parents, but would also look up to him. It seems he expected Rebecca to be not as intelligent as him and that she would look at him in awe for being so smart and rich and provide her with a home that was not the dirt floor shack with broken windows and no plumbing, that he expected her, as a Latina, to come from. I think he wanted his ego stroked by his “earthy” wife since his parents never did it. A little hero-worship, so to speak.

I think Sara was able to hide the fact that she was an abused wife because, in her head, she was not an abused wife, they just had a passionate relationship. I mean after all, beside Tina Turner, how many abused wives do you hear hit their husbands and live to tell the tale? She flat out said, sometimes she got mad at him and would hit him. I think it took the big ass whooping to make her realize, it was not ok for him to control and hit her, even if he only left a few small bruises.

Gato strayed because he was no longer the hero. He needed Amber to look up to him so he could feel important, strong, smart and manly. Look whom he took off with, the young girl who looked up to him and thought he hung the moon. He didn’t want a strong, intelligent woman; he wanted the doe-eyed girl to make him feel like a man by stoking his tiny, um, ego.

If it was Lauren in the situation, she wouldn’t of been like Amber, tough and smart to realize Gato was no man, she would of made an ass of herself, like she did with Ed, and then she would of self destructed even more, with the booze, bingeing and purging.

Usnavys thinks she needs a rich man because she thinks money will make her happy. She is so afraid of being poor again and she is so busy trying to impress others with her possessions that she convinces herself that only a rich man will do. It’s all about outer appearance to her. Because of her selfish, self centered, bullshit game she plays, she and the man of her dreams, Juan, waste 10 years of their lives. I despised Usnavys and felt bad for Juan. Shame on him for putting up with that crap and shame on her for SUCKING so bad. I really didn’t like her at all.

I grew up across the street from a Mexican family, which is, in my eyes, my family. The oldest daughter, Letie’s son is my Godson and Letie is my Godmother and one of my best friends. Their mom, Dulie, (God rest her soul) was my second mom and the kids are like my brothers and sisters. Saying that, I think I have a good understanding of the differences of Latin people. I’m not saying if there was a line up of Latin people standing in front of me I could tell you their nationality, any more than I could Asian people or white people, but I get that there are different shade of brown, different Spanish speaking countries, and different styles of food and traditions. When I hear people say, “Oh, I hate going to the fruit market downtown because everyone is speaking Mexican and I can’t understand them.” I cringe. Speaking Mexican? You mean Spanish? Ass-wipe. But, to be honest, it floored me to think that a Latina or Latino could be anything other that Catholic.

The media plays up the “spicy hot Latina” image and the “Latin lover” to sell their product. They do the same for all cultures, put a stereotype on it, some more than others. I think it is a good thing. Well, not the negative stereotyping, but the positive stereotyping because it takes away some of the “fears” of something new and it makes it exotic. This way people are at least becoming more willing to step outside of his or her own ideas about a culture and meet new people and learn how it really is.

As far as the negative, the only way it will stop, is if we quit eating it up. All Latin’s are not good in bed, all Italian’s are not “stallions”, all black people are not hung to their knees, all Asian’s are not “little pickles” and all white people are not frigid and boring. And until we, as the majority, stop the bullshit, we are destined to sit around and smell it.


Over all I like this book. It was like a Latina Waiting To Exhale. I think AV-R did a great job in getting you to believe there were 5 different girls that spoke differently and thought differently. I like Sara, Elizabeth and, most of the time, Rebecca. I didn’t care for Lauren or Amber and I despised Usnavys. (I mean, if they were real people.)

7/25/2006 08:01:00 AM  

Blogger Gun_Wielding_Bitch said...

Jolie, I agree with you, I couldn't really relate to any of the girls. all thier personalities are different than mine.

7/25/2006 08:32:00 AM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

GWB, I agree about using the positive stereotyping. Nothing wrong with that. :)

I've yet to read Waiting to Exhale, or see the movie.

7/25/2006 03:08:00 PM  

Blogger Gun_Wielding_Bitch said...

I saw the movie. Replace Latina with home girl and you got it. It was basically trying to show people how "African American" think and live. Their culture. But again, all people are different and no one should try to speak for an entire race.

7/25/2006 03:33:00 PM  

Blogger Lorelei said...

Oh I saw the movie but haven't read the book. Good chic flick with Angela Bassett.

7/25/2006 03:41:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

>>>All Latin’s are not good in bed, all Italian’s are not “stallions”, all black people are not hung to their knees...

BWB, you're breaking my fantasy!

:P

7/25/2006 04:03:00 PM  

Anonymous Ollenska said...

Petra, I loved that scene too! Rebecca and Andre dancing and him asking her ahd she didn't know what to say!

I really liked this book. Thanks BBs! I wonder if Alisa will write a sequel. I've checked her other books, still about Latinas, but with different characters.

7/25/2006 04:05:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

Olly, I'm hoping for a sequel too. :D

About Waiting to Exhale, ditto. Never saw the movie and never read the book. LOL Is it good?

7/25/2006 04:51:00 PM  

Blogger C Bradshaw said...

The movie is good. Whitney Houston here is tolerable. Never liked that woman. LOL

They always depict Latinos as a great lover. I have never been with one, but I would love to know if it's true. :P

7/25/2006 05:15:00 PM