María's Purgatorio. By Patrick Fontes. Edited by Leyla Namazie. ISBN: 978-1523315154. $23.95.
Sex. Drugs. Violence. Speaking in tongues. Set in the sweltering summer months in Fresno, California, María seeks purpose, identity and some semblance of family among the gritty underground niches of society. Not content with who she is, or where she came from, María delves into various groups yearning for fulfillment in a dystopian landscape, one very real for anyone acquainted with the underbelly of cities like Fresno. Not satisfied with drugs and sex, María undergoes a spiritual conversion after meeting evangelists from a Pentecostal church. At last she is at home, with The Family, her new spiritual family, which offers more than her biological familia—so María thinks. In the end, her newfound life is not what it seems, and María at last finds happiness and contentment in a place she previously scorned. Throughout the book María is tormented between memories of her Abuela and her journey to find peace.