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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Love in Any Language: A Memoir of a Cross-Cultural Marriage, by Evelyn Kohl LaTorre, is a moving, enriching memoir about love transcending cultural boundaries. Antonio is an impoverished university student who doesn't speak English but tries to, while Evelyn is an assertive volunteer with the Peace Corps. When they marry in Peru, both have adjustments to make and cultures to navigate. Partly taking place in the 1960s-1970s, Evelyn is the typical young wife who is taken care of by her husband. They have children, and Antonio strives to be a husband and father as they make their life in California, but he has difficulty securing decent employment. They both make sacrifices while finishing college and raising their children, but Evelyn finds herself doing so on her own when Antonio becomes a professor in Peru. These stresses add up to a boiling point, and the question is, can they make it? Can they survive being torn between two cultures?
LaTorre presents a memoir that will inspire you to think beyond geographical and cultural boundaries. The strength, patience, and resilience it takes for a couple to endure and thrive against such powerful tides are amazing. You will be swept into the story by rich detail, honest writing, and a kind of suspense as you wonder how it will all play out. The author has a gift for insight and objectivity as she describes the events of their lives and marriage. I like that the strengths and needs of all parties are explored. She is fair about it, and it makes you feel for her, and for Antonio. The part where he felt at home among Spanish-speaking people spoke to me, and the passages about their careers interested me too. The barriers are discussed with clarity and openness; the conflict is visceral but cathartic. This book actually gives a good picture of what could be expected and what is possible when two worlds collide. For an intricate, personal story about the ups and downs of a cross-cultural marriage, Love in Any Language: A Memoir of a Cross-Cultural Marriage, by Evelyn Kohl LaTorre, should be next on your reading list.