historical fiction,  Texas,  women's fiction

REVIEW: Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore

Title: Valentine
Author: Elizabeth Wetmore
Type: Fiction
Published: 2020.
Pages: 320
Publisher: Harper

“What kind of woman runs out on her husband and her daughter? The kind who understands that the man who shares her bed is, and will always be, just the boy who got her pregnant. The kind who can’t stand thinking that she might someday tell her own daughter: All this ought to be good enough for you.”

While I was writing my top 10 of 2020., I realized there are few amazing books that have definitely earned their place on my reviews site. Valentine is one of them. Even though a debut, this book is written so good, and has been definitely one of the biggest surprises of last year.

And what a journey did it make! The author describes small town Odessa, Texas in the 1970’s oil surge so well you can almost feel the sun on your skin, taste the sand in the air, smell the oil on the men returning from work and hear the deafening silence in the air. ⠀

This book evolves around the women of Odessa. Women made for more than the life they got. Women with minds open and strength that amazes. Women that don’t think that staying home raising kids is the only thing in life that is meant for them. Women that want to fight for the better future of their children. Women that have to deal with bigotry and prejudices every day. ⠀
It all starts with the rape of one 14 yrs old. The man in town say that it was all her fault. Why would otherwise a little Mexican girl step in a car of an adult stranger – she asked for it. Through stories of different women from the city we see the impact this event has on their lives. The fear they have to live with every day so they don’t step on the toes of the wrong man. The way they have to fight for their daughters not to end up like them, knocked up at 14 or 17. The grief and the anger they were not allowed to feel. ⠀

I have been feeling devastated and really claustrophobic after reading this book… And so furious. Furious with injustice, furious with indifference of society…and furious with what being a woman sometimes feel. Not only in Odessa,Texas 1970, but in the world, 2020. Not everywhere, not always, but still. The ending does offer us some hope though. Hope that maybe all can be better, that almost everything can heal. And that sometimes, you just need to keep on living.

MY GR RATING: 5 stars

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