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Memoir ‘Kinky Gazpacho’ Hits Close to Home

I arrived to the States just a few days ago and couldn’t be happier although I found out that Michelle Obama was vacationing in Spain. Didn’t she get the memo that I was coming this way? Oh well, there was some talk of her visiting King Juan Carlos and Queen Leticia, which sounds rather boring to me. I don’t think either one speaks English but it will be good to see who has the better outfit, The First Lady or Leticia. My money is on MB!

In any case, happy to be back in an English speaking nation I made a bee-line to Borders Books. I know, I know, its not The Strand or my favorite libreria in Barcelona, La Catedral, but for me, right now, it’s my literary temple. Wall-to-wall books in my native tongue. YES! I spent a couple of hours thumbing through the latest releases and I found a book to quench my current obsession with memoirs. I hunted fiercely for a new one to read Kinky Gazpacho by Lori Tharps. The title caught my attention and the brief summary sealed the deal; black journalist from US goes to Spain to discover herself yet at first finds the racial insensitivity of Spaniards frustrating however manages to fall in love with the country, its people and actually marry a born and bred Andalucian.

I returned home with my stack of readable goods but chose Lori’s novel as my first read on  my sofa. I read the book from front to back in one sitting only stopping briefly to explain to my dad that I was laughing out loud at my book and not the silliness of American reality television. I giggled and thought to myself throughout the 200-plus pages, “OMG, that totally happened to me too!  The experiences she shares span  from being the token black girl throughout her childhood scholastic years to her early desire to travel abroad and then being sorely disappointed that the Spain of her dreams would make her feel like an outsider once again. I also have to point out that my novio is from the same down south region as her husband. Big coincidence, no?

Some of you may have read the book, some may know the writer who’s lived in Brooklyn, NY for sometime and written for major magazines like Entertainment Weekly. In any case, reading her story made me feel like I was normal and not loca. Right now I am coming to a point where I am overcoming the frustration of educating Spaniards about blackness and I’m getting over their racial insensitivity. I am coming to accept that the multi-culti (Lori’s tag line, not mine) world of Brooklyn just ain’t in BCN and ,well, learning to fall in love with the country all over again and all the positive things the culture has to offer like its strong sense of family and divine cuisine.

If you haven’t read it Kinky Gazpacho, do it now. It’s fun and although you might not relate to it in the same ways I did, it’s an interesting and worthy read.

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