BOOK STEW REVIEW: ‘Olga Dies Dreaming’ by Xochitl Gonzalez

Below is the latest Book Stew Review from Eileen MacDougall, host of the long-running Book Stew, a video and podcast devoted to writing in all forms, authors, playwrights, and even a cat who survived a tornado and wrote a book about it.

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

This is a busy, funny, heartfelt comedic Nuyorican family portrait featuring politics, careers, and a complicated family — just before Hurricane Maria devastates the island in 2017.

Olga is a wedding planner with a TV slot, favored by her one percent client base, who should be thrilled with her success, but sees the shallow nature of her job and how her ambitions were co-opted by her need to make up for the absence of her mother, a revolutionary, and her father, dead from AIDS.

She’s in a warped relationship with a wealthy, cruel older businessman who wants to use her for his own perverse ends. Olga’s brother, a congressman, is closeted and also motivated by longings for his missing mom.

However, there’s a warm and warring family of Abuelita and the many aunts and cousins to cheer the siblings on and to provide needed care and support. And then there’s Matteo, the socks-with-sandals real estate agent Olga meets in a bar.

There’s also a wealth of humor and wisdom in this fast-moving novel.

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