The only writing of Dan Savage’s that I’d read before this book was a bit of his Savage Love column, though I’d obviously heard his name around a lot. He’s famous in certain circles for a lot of things, namely writing no-nonsense responses to reader questions (primarily about sex or relationship issues), and more recently for creating an anti-Rick Santorum website.
This was probably one of the most fun YA novels I’ve read this year. And it’s not really that much of a surprise, coming from David Levithan (author of Boy Meets Boy, Every Day, and Six Earlier Days), whom I love, and John Green, whom I’ve heard such good things about.
I really liked most of this book. The premise is really easy to catch on to, and unlike other “stuck in a stranger’s body” type narratives I’ve read or see on television, this one really seemed to touch deeper on the philosophical and moral issues.
What I really enjoyed the most about this book was that it touched on so many issues that are important for youth today: being alone, friendship, attraction, growing up. It wasn’t just about the sexual identity of one of the main characters and how the others dealt with it.
Let’s start with what I loved about this book. I loved the way that Obejas wove Cuban and Cuban-American culture so integrally into this Memory Mambo. I loved the cultural and linguistic references, and I just generally found it extremely satisfying to read a story about a woman from her own perspective, talking about how her life and her choices affect (and are affected by) her culture and family.