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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Jesusita by Ronald L. Ruiz is a stunning work that portrays the life of immigrants moving to the US from Mexico in the period during and immediately after World War II, and their struggles to carve out a life in the midst of poverty. The story is a powerful testament of the war against poverty and misery, a war fought daily by those immigrants coming to the US in search of greener pastures. But with every war there are bruises and casualties, and sometimes they make us question if there is justice for the poor. Jesusita is a middle-aged woman who works very hard to raise her four children, but it takes too much for one woman to do this in very poor conditions. Her contact with poverty affects her life negatively, turning her into something of a monster, bitter, and very hard on her children. The children suffer untold abuse from their mother, and Paulina gets swept away by the currents because of her. The questions readers want answered are: Can Jesusita see reality for what it is? Can she look at her soul with honesty?
Ronald L. Ruiz is a gifted writer with the rare knack for weaving historical and social elements into a tale that features equally compelling characters. Readers will be drawn in by the characters such as Jesusita, the Priest, and others. Paulina’s fate raises many questions and it will be interesting to see how Jesusita, in her deluded faith, takes it. The language is beautiful, and at times deceptively simple, but beneath that simplicity lies a strong current of emotions, of the thirst for life, and a despair that is characteristic of the poor communities of immigrants. This book is a powerful social statement that will affect or change the way most readers look at immigrants, anywhere.