Wednesday, October 15, 2014
BOOK REVIEW | Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros
This collection is less than 200 pages yet packs more of a punch than 500 paged novels I've read. Sandra Cisneros is extremely readable an accessible. I read that her goal was that anyone could pick up her books and understand them, and I believe she accomplished that desire. That's not to say that there aren't layers to this, because there are, but at the same time her meanings aren't shrouded or concealed. The more you read and re-read the stories, more aspects are revealed.
For this review, I wanted to focus specifically on her story, and the namesake of this collection, "Woman Hollering Creek." This short story follows Cleofilas, a young woman who moves from Mexico to Texas for marriage. In a very short time, her dreams of living in America happily are destroyed when her husband turns out to be abusive and a cheater.
Close to where Cleofilas lives is a river called Woman Hollering. Because of her experiences, she believes that the only time a woman hollers is when they're angry or sad. As her life gets darker and more abusive, she begins to relate to the sorrow that she sees in the river.
Two women end up liberating Cleofilas from her situation and on her way out of Texas, one of them lets out a whoop of triumph. She hollers in joy, and suddenly everything Cleofilas has thought about herself, about women and about the creek are challenged: "Then Felice began laughing again, but it wasn't Felice laughing. It was gurgling out of her own throat, a long ribbon of laughter, like water."
There are more aspects to this story, like feminine displacement, oppression, La Llorona, motherhood, etc. And each time I read the story, a new part jumps out at me. This is just one story, and not even my favorite one! (My favorite is "Eyes of Zapata.") I love that Cisneros is easy to read, but not afraid to portray a powerful, even controversial, message. Highly recommended.