Mamá, Mi'jo, and Me
Finalist for the 2017 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Nonfiction
"Paloma Negra," Ana Castillo's mother sings the day her daughter leaves home, "I don't know if I should curse you or pray for you."
Growing up as the intellectually spirited daughter of a Mexican Indian immigrant family during the 1970s, Castillo defied convention as a writer and a feminist. A generation later, her mother's crooning mariachi lyrics resonate once again. Castillo—now an established Chicana novelist, playwright, and scholar—witnesses her own son's spiraling adulthood and eventual incarceration. Standing in the stifling courtroom, Castillo describes a scene that could be any mother's worst nightmare. But in a country of glaring and stacked statistics, it is a nightmare especially reserved for mothers like her: the inner-city mothers, the single mothers, the mothers of brown sons.
Black Dove: Mamá, Mi'jo, and Me looks at what it means to be a single, brown, feminist parent in a world of mass incarceration, racial profiling, and police brutality. Through startling humor and love, Castillo weaves intergenerational stories traveling from Mexico City to Chicago. And in doing so, she narrates some of America's most heated political debates and urgent social injustices through the oft-neglected lens of motherhood and family.
"[Castillo] writes of her struggles with childhood poverty and the many obstacles that her family had to face on a daily basis. . . . It is a high-wire act to bring together a combination of personality characteristics and specific cultural touchstones and make it resonate with a wider readership, but the author handles it well. . . . A compassionate look at those crossing points in our shared lives." —Kirkus
"This exquisite memoir is full of compassion and maternal love." —NBC News
“Reading Black Dove is like sitting down to an intimate chat with Castillo about growing up with one foot in your parents’ world and the other in your own. Thank you for this gift.” —Veronica I. Arreola, founder of Viva La Feminista
“Órale! Castillo teaches us how to become the Latina sister outsider we all dream of being.” —Ileana Jiménez, founder of Feminist Teacher
“Ana Castillo is an American treasure. Fearless, compassionate, and flat-out brilliant—she is the writer we need as we navigate the challenges of our ever-changing world.” —Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow