Living at Night
This debut novel from Mariana Romo-Carmona draws us into the world of Erica Garcia - a young, working class Puerto Rican lesbian searching for her place in the world. Erica's unresolved anguish over her mother's illness causes her to drop out of college and work as an aide at an institution for developmentally disabled persons, where she interacts with women whose every action and bodily function are duly monitored, but who stubbornly maintain their dignity and assert their individuality in an environment that tends to shred those qualities. Though Erica comes to realize that she may not be able to change the world, she can indeed take charge of her own life. Living at Night is a troubling view of the indignities and neglect inflicted on disabled and old people by those who are caring for them. It is, however, also a story of hope and redemption - of how one woman's compassion can make a small but essential difference in the lives of those whom society would rather forget. And how much those removed from the cares of the outside world can teach us about life and the value of human connections.
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