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Check It Out: How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz

This is Leah Erdmann with the Sioux City Public Library and you're listening to Check It Out.

With humor and a lot of heart, Angie Cruz brings us How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water, the story of Cara Romero, a Dominican immigrant living in New York City who, at the age of 56, must find a new job as a casualty of the Great Recession. Readers get to know Cara over the course of twelve interviews with a job counselor for the Senior Workforce Program. She relays her life story with straightforward sincerity, inspiring self-awareness, and no shortage of sarcasm. Session by session, we piece together a fascinating and endearing portrait of a woman who has overcome countless challenges with indomitable spirit, strength, and a sense of humor.

After fleeing to America with her young son to escape her murderous husband, Cara worked hard to raise her child and provide for the two of them in their newly adopted country. Something I really admire about Cara is her willingness to acknowledge her mistakes and shortcomings while allowing herself and others a considerable amount of understanding and grace. She does the best she can, as we all do, to navigate a far-from-imperfect world as an imperfect individual.

Cara’s personal plights against abusive family members and partners, the rising tensions leading to her son’s estrangement, and the fracturing and reparation of close friendships are all overarched by ongoing societal and economic issues and government inefficiencies as well. Through the thoughtful and honest exploration of themes including immigration, discrimination, intergenerational trauma, and found family, Cara’s story sheds important light on the dark side of the American Dream.

With all her flaws and complexities, Cara Romero will not disappoint. Her distinct storytelling in this resonant rollercoaster of a book makes it a perfect fit for the 2023 Summer Reading theme: Find Your Voice. Check out How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water, by Angie Cruz, at the Sioux City Public Library.

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Verde Outdoor Media.

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