Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore
An emotional story set in the Texas oilfields
Synopsis: It's 1976. A teenage girl named Gloria is brutally raped in the Texas oil fields. Valentine tells the story of the effects that this one sexual attack had on the entire town of Odessa, Texas. The powerfully unique writing style alternates between the view points of various females in the town - from a teenage girl to women of various ages and stages in life.
These chapters do an excellent job of examining the various personal injustices that each woman encounters in this small Texas town. The author does a fantastic job at examining the racist and patriarchal world of 1970's Texas. A world that let rapists go, that put little value in it's women, that mistreated immigrants. This well written novel brings up many moral concerns for readers, and makes one wonder - are things much different today than they were then?
My thoughts/feelings: This book is deep. I cried. I cringed. I thought, "Oh hell yeah!!" And I cried again. There were a few places in the middle where I felt like it slowed down and dragged on a bit. But the entire book was well worth the read. This book really does an excellent job at examining how one act by one man can affect an entire town. I loved that the story show cased how so many different people were affected so drastically by this one crime. I really enjoyed that the book was told only from the perspective of women (although this may deter some readers) because this book was about a crime committed against a woman, and the subsequent fear and injustice experienced by the local women. This book takes place in an oil and ranch driven community, so the men are often away, leaving the women to take care of themselves and their homes. It's a stressful and lonely life for many.
I live in Texas and I can attest to the true nature of many aspects in this book. I'm sure readers from all over the South will feel the truth --although ugly and painful to think about ---within these pages. This was such a powerful story that I won't soon forget.
"I'm not a drunk, I'm just drinking all the time. There's is a world of difference between the two."
"Every book has at least one good thing..."
"She thinks how nice it is when somebody saves you from something, even if you don't want to be saved."
"Gloria could be any of our girls,...."
"Why don't we give a shit about what happens to a girl like Glory Ramirez?"
"You raise a family in Midland, but you raise hell in Odessa. "
"The girl who walked barefoot across the desert and saved her own life. She can't imagine any other way to tell the story."