Lake Publishing 2000
ISBN: 1-931095-10-8 (Electronic edition)
ISBN: 1-931095-11-6 (Trade Paperback edition)
Olivas book has been growing for some time. The seed was planted
long before he ever began to write; probably before his hands were
even formed to hold a pen. As Im sure he has learned, no matter
what the reason for putting the pen to the page, it is never an
of María Rivera Peña
offers the reader a glimpse
of a budding love, the beginning of a familys heritage that
traveled through the years, finally to make its impression upon
the page of one of its members. Mr. Olivas gives the reader the
opportunity to see his Beto
, his grandfather, walk the tightrope
for the woman he loves, Maria. As readers, we are relieved when
she loves him back and the courtship begins.
This is a love
story in its truest sense. The bones of the story are love, courtship,
and the intertwining of hearts and spirits. But it is also a story
of struggle and completion for both the characters and the author.
Through looking at the lives of those before us, we learn much about
ourselves; there were reasons this story had to be told. Mr. Olivas
needed to tell this story for himself and his family.
To summarize this
book would mean speaking just a few words about a love story that
is obviously grand. But let us give it its greatest praise: This
is a love story with great magnitude and texture, a story that is
the nucleus of this family.
It is commendable
and even inspiring when any love story is brought to the pagenot
all love stories can live on white pages; the translation from thought
to paper is sometimes arduous. Unfortunately, this one seemed to
lose something in its journey between the authors mind and
easy to see Mr. Olivas attachment to this story, to these
memories, to the love of these characters, he makes it impossible
for the readers to feel it themselves. For any book to be "good",
it must appeal to the emotions of its readers, it must pull at the
heartstrings and make us care about the lives of its characters
and their journeys.
Every reader loves
a love story, but there are reasons why: The reader wants to feel
the love of the characters jump from the page. The Courtship
of María Rivera Peña
is at times lackluster, dim,
and difficult to read. The reader must strain to pull any kind of
emotion from this story, though it should be illuminated upon the
pages and presented freely. Clearly, this novella wasnt given
the room to breathe its own beauty; a story like this deserves to
be told, but it asks its writer to step aside and let it be heard.
at the cover photo of Maria and Beto on their wedding day gives
the reader an attachment to these young lovers. Yet the words speaking
for that photo have an obligation to measure up to its beauty, and
The Courtship of María Rivera Peña
say enough about this insinuated love. With some stories, the reader
is better left to imagine such love than to see it structured with
ill-placed adjectives and so separated from the eloquent details
that give it its shine and immortality.
This novel is invaluable
in its own right. Mr. Olivas is a writer who believed in it enough
to tell it, and many readers can be enriched by his noble effort.
But Mr. Olivas inadvertently starched the edges of this story, stiffening
the softness of a passion obviously true, and consequently obscured
the brilliance of all love stories: the love.