VALENTINE by Elizabeth Wetmore: A Review


A wonderful debut novel

I read about this book, just out this year, in a review in The Houston Chronicle. What made me want to read it was it was set in Odessa, Texas, where my neighbor grew up. All I remember from what she told me about the town was about the terrible, red, dust storms. The Odessa described in this novel as a 1976 oil-boom town is prosperous, and sometimes violent. Men had money, nothing to do, and were heavy drinkers. Women were homebound with many children, dependent on each other for friendship and strength.

When fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramirez appears, bloody and battered, on Mary Rose Whitehead’s front porch, asking for a glass of water and calling out for her mother, the “heartbreaking and thrilling” story begins. And, with “firepower and skill,” Wetmore narrates the story of prejudice and injustice with”breathtaking prose.”

“Sunday morning begins out here in…

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