September 4, 2015

REVIEW: RUNNING IN HEELS: A MEMOIR OF GRIT AND GRACE BY MARY A. PEREZ

  

I am no longer that hungry, insecure little girl anymore. While I’ve managed to subdue my past, I believe my past hasn’t spoiled me, but has prepared me for the future. I may not be perfect but, whenever I stumble, I can wipe the crud off and walk on.
      Life is precious.  Life is worth living.  As I choose to walk in forgiveness, to become better and not bitter…I am whole.  I am significant.  I am free at last.  ¡Wepa!    --- Mary A. Pérez




Chart House Press
RUNNING IN HEELS is a story about child abuse, survival, forgiveness and redemption.

Mary Pérez’s first memory is that of her and her older brother being kidnapped from their kindergarten school by their mother and her latest boyfriend.  By the time Mary is three her parents are divorced and she alone is living with her mom.  Mary grows up a hungry child – hungry for food, but more importantly, for love and acceptance.  She finds peace and welcome briefly with her grandparents, but too soon she is returned to her mother. 

It’s not clear why her father never sued for custody of her since her mother turned to alcohol, drugs and abusive boyfriends, but he does try to stay connected.  It isn’t enough.  There are just too many buchiplumas – someone who promises but doesn’t deliver – in her life.  Soon 16-year-old Mary is looking for love in all the wrong places.  After a stint in Juvy, she finds a lover more than 10-years her senior, and for the next 15 years, repeats her mother’s pattern of abuse and heartache.  The only beacon of hope in her life is being with her grandparents and their faith in a God Mary is not sure exists. 

For a few brief years, Mary’s abusive husband changes his ways and becomes a model husband and father to their four children, but he begins to drink again and their paradise is shattered violently.  Alone yet again, Mary decides to take control of her own life and stop being dependent on anyone. 

She gets a job, a divorce and finds her belief in God growing stronger.  She learns to forgive and to let go of the past and her bitterness. And finally, when she stops believing in happy endings, she finds a strong man who loves her and her children, and who offers to “find God together.”  

RUNNING IN HEELS is full of grit and grace just as it states.  It will make readers cry and cringe in equal measures.  No child should have to grow up like this, but it is a testament to Mary Pérez’ strength – and faith! -- that she finds the courage to not only to survive but to thrive.



 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Mary A. Pérez was born in the Bronx, raised in Miami, and now resides in Texas with her husband of 20 years.  She is of Puerto Rican descent.  Her award-winning essays have appeared in La Respueta and SOFRITO FOR YOUR SOUL.  Visit her at www.maryaperez.com.
Facebook = WriterMaryAPerez
Twitter = @MarysReflection