Healing the Racial Divide, July 27, 2011

This review is from: L.A. Blues (Paperback)

Nine-year-old Black/Spanish Zipporah Saldano (a.k.a. “Z”) made a panicked phone call to her father, who lived across town, to let him know that her mother, Venita, was being beaten by her latest live-in boyfriend. That phone call changed Z’s life forever. Even though Z was sent to live in a loving, foster home, she blamed herself for getting her father killed, having her pregnant mother put in jail, and sending her siblings into multiple foster homes. She turns to alcohol to cover the pain she refuses to feel.

Z decides to become a cop and join the LAPD, hoping to stop some of the gang violence she and her people have seen way too much of. Her time on the force is cut short when her drinking problem causes her to be fired after her partner is killed. Her downward spiral lands her at rock bottom where she has no choice but to deal with the pain that is destroying her life. She joins AA and finally begins sorting through the years of emotional agony she has buried within her heart.

This story takes the reader deep inside the home and hearts of Z’s infertile foster parents, Daddy Chill and Shirley, who love all their foster children unconditionally. Even after Z and her foster siblings reach adulthood, Shirley continues to provide emotional support during the hardships this bunch experiences quite often. Shirley even takes in the children of her drug-addicted foster child, Chica, and raises them as if they are her own grandkids.
When death hits close to home and nearly devastates the entire family, Z, who has become a private detective, begins her search for their loved one’s killer. That search turns up more answers and secrets than she ever anticipated finding. I’m thankful for a happy ending to this tragic story that caused tears of compassion to well up in my eyes as I read.

The storytelling skills of this author are great. The story is told in first person. While I was a bit puzzled by the narrator’s shift from present to past tense (sometimes in the same sentence), I must admit it helped define the protagonist’s character. I finished the book in one weekend even while tending to my young grandsons because I couldn’t put the book down. I had fallen in love with the characters and had to see what was going to happen next. The pace of the story is perfect.

Knowing that inner healing can change an entire culture–and ultimately our world–I recommend this well-researched book to all races because it gives hope that our Black and Latino brothers and sisters can take responsibility for their choices and find peace within themselves. There is no place love cannot reach!

Yvonne Perry,
Author of Whose Stuff Is This?: Finding Freedom from the Negative Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You

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Filed under: BloodsBook ReviewsFoster Care SystemGangsHistorical EventLA Riots 1992Social Issues

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