As I delved into Chris Perez’s new book “ To Selena, With Love“, I was instantly reminded of how fresh her death feels in the small city of Corpus Christi, Tx. I reside in this beach city and pass by the Selena monument on Ocean Drive, every chance that I get. I still remember seeing Selena at a local Fiesta and I think is was in Alice, Tx.
As a young girl, I remember listening to Selena. She was one of the few female Tejano Singers. My own prima had Selena and Los Dinos sing at her Quincenera or so the story goes. My favorite song had to be Amor Probido and Como La Flor. I can still hear Selena’s mesmerizing voice. I can remember dancing to her songs at Quinces and Weddings. Most of all I remember the sparkling bra. The fact she lived in Corpus Christi made her more real to me as young tween. She was from where we were from. She was just like us. She could sing in Spanish but spoke in English. I could belt out Selena lyrics, out of tune, but at least semantically correct even if I never understood them.
In essence, Selena was kinda of like the Tejano Elvis. Her death was tragic and had a huge impact on all of our lives. We had lost a great performer and a person we all looked up to that day. I was at a Track Meet in Benavides, TX when I heard about Selena’s death. People openly wept at the meet and even those in the announcer’s box began to talk about the breaking news.
Selena was gone but never forgotten. Selena the movie made her face even more recognizable and helped her reach a broader audience even if it was post humoursely.I If you know nothing about Selena and never experienced growing up with her music as we did, then this books will amaze you at the amount of raw emotion that Perez writes about from falling heads over heels in love to his tragic loss.
As a long time fan of Selena, I was more interested in Chris’s honesty about his marriage. I loved that he talked about the hardships surrounding his marriage and how he and Selena rediscovered their love for each other. I thought that this was such an important issue for all couples.
Most of all I enjoyed his heartfelt adoration of his wife’s smile, her voice, her adventurous side, and her determination. The one thing that stood out about this memoir is his grief. This book gave us a view into his grief and how music pulled him out. It was beautiful to see how his emotions revolutionized his music and his hard work was rewarded.
My favorite lines came at the end of the memoir when he stated:
“Selena showed those who were struggling-migrant workers, schoolchildren,housewives with domineering husbands, teens rebelling against their conservative parents – that persistence and hard work pay off, and you can be ambitious without leaving your family and cherished values behind.”
“This message especially resonated with Hispanic-Americans, many of whom like Abraham, had experienced racism during their lives simply for speaking Spanish-or for looking like they could.”
Chris Perez has paid a wonderful homage to a beloved singer and wife inciting a new appreciation for Selena and for their love. This book is a way to reconnect with a time in history that catapulted a young woman and band into stardom. I admire Perez for his courage and for his ability to finally show the world the real Selena.
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( I was sent a copy of this book for Review but the opinions written are my own.)