Iris Gomez’s TRY TO REMEMBER is a beautifully written novel that manages to keep you on the edge of your seat–not through a steroid-pumped plot, but by painting the very real terror of an immigrant teen’s life. Deportation, jail, drugs, rape, pregnancy–these are all the dangers awaiting Gabriela de La Paz, adolescent daughter of Colombian immigrants. The reader spends most of the novel dreading the moment when one of these dangers will bring her down. But this is not just a story about the hazards of being an illegal immigrant. It’s a story about the dangers of family: How the same people who are supposed to help us can drag us under.
When Gabriela’s proud, temperamental father begins to behave in increasingly bizarre, even violent ways, the effect on her family is like a time bomb suddenly appearing in their livingroom. Gabriela’s mother refuses to acknowledge the change. Her brothers find ways to escape, through work and friends and drugs. Only Gabriela–barely a teen when the novel opens–can keep the family from blowing apart.
Iris Gomez is an award-winning poet and immigration lawyer. She was born in Colombia and writes with the kind of intelligence, authority and lyricism that even her fellow countryman, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, would have to admire. TRY TO REMEMBER is a stunning debut novel. And in Gabriela de la Paz, you will find one of the most intelligent, sympathetic and unique characters you have ever met. A must-read!