Memory Mambo describes the life of Juani Casas, a 25-year-old Cuban-born American lesbian who manages her family's laundromat in Chicago while trying to cope with family, work, love, sex, and the weirdness of North American culture.
Achy Obejas's writing is sharp and mordantly funny. She understands perfectly how the romance of exile - from a homeland as well as from heterosexuality - and the mundane reality of everyday life balance each other. Memory Mambo is ultimately very moving in its depiction of what it means to find a new and finally safe sense of home.
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Definately the worst narrator I've ever heard
This book on tape sounded as if it was being read to me by Siri. I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't actually read by a human at all. The inflections were all wrong and the timing and rhythm of her voice sounded strange to the degree that it was difficult to pay attention to what she was saying.
Great book. Terrible narrator.
Narrator can't speak Spanish
The book is insightful, occasionally well written, and original.
The narration is uncomfortable and distracts from Achy Obejas' novel. A good narrator will disappear into the story; a great narrator will bring life and feeling to the text. Not so with Ruth Oakes. I literally missed moments of this novel, because I was so distracted by the narrator's errors and strange intonation. Other reviewers have already pointed out that the narrator's halting pace and sing-song voice. But nobody has noticed the OTHER problem with this narrator: She can't pronounce Spanish. Why hire a narrator who can't pronounce any of the characters' names or half their dialogue? And given the mispronunciations, it's cringe-inducing to listen to her fake a Cuban-American accent.