2 out of 4 stars
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Emma Gomez: A Courageous Woman Displays True Grit is an autobiography focusing on the author’s recollections of her achievements and how she attained them over the course of her life. Born in the rural mountains of Puerto Rico, Emma started out with very little. Over time, Emma’s experiences led her to New York City where she married her high school sweetheart and became a contributing member of the workforce. Emma faced many personal and professional struggles throughout her life, but perseverance and smart decision making led her on a journey to becoming a highly educated and successful woman.
The book is organized by topics and follows a relatively non-linear timeline. The author intersperses personal anecdotes with opinions on themes like child rearing, marriage, friendships, family and education. There is no doubt that the author has accomplished a great deal throughout her life and come a long way from her meager upbringing. Emma’s ability to continue improving her life, despite personal and professional setbacks, is inspiring.
Though there is a lot of merit to Emma’s achievements, the narration of this autobiography is rather irksome. The constant use of telling instead of showing makes the narrative almost unbearable in parts. The writing style fails to appeal to the reader’s senses and further fails to connect the reader to the author on an emotional level. Statements like ‘Now I will explain another incident,’ and ‘So let me tell you about this man,’ occur on almost every page and quickly become tedious to read. A successful narrator shouldn’t have to tell readers ‘this is the message I want to convey.’ Fundamentally, this message should be built into the narrative.
Any type of writing, whether it be fiction or non-fiction, must have structure. Unfortunately, this book significantly lacks structure and thus the narrative is a monotonous recitation of one event after another with unclear connection to the themes. Though many themes are touched upon, the associated personal anecdotes fail to transcend facts and connect to these themes. For example, the author implores the reader to consider the difficulty of being a female minority in the workplace; though many readers will know this is a relevant issue, the stories related to this topic are emotionally detached and the author always seems to come out on top, relatively unaffected by this theme.
Writing family history is an important part of life. However, an interesting life story doesn’t always translate into an engaging autobiography. I commend the author for all of her achievements. Unfortunately, the narration of this book doesn’t properly connect the reader to the author’s life. The flat writing style along with the lack of structure make this book considerably less influential than it should be; for those reasons, I rate Emma Gomez: A Courageous Woman Displays True Grit 2 out of 4 stars. If the narration had better structure and the stories included more emotion instead of factual recitations, I would have rated this book higher.
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