EVENINGS AT THE ARGENTINE CLUB
by JULIA AMANTE
A wonderful and timely story of immigrants who come to find the American dream and how their hopes and dreams can differ so from their children who are born into the country their parents have come to. The contrasting stories of two different couples will keep you turning the page to see what happens. As the parents, Jacqueline and Victor find their marriage falling apart here in the land of plenty, their daughter, Victoria, finds a never imagined passionate love affair.
When young Argentine American Eric returns home to Burbank, California, he is not the same young kid Victoria grew up with. He is handsome and successful and becomes interested in her, much to her surprise. They grew up together, yes, but things are different for him now. Victoria, meanwhile, dropped out of college, is working at her father's restaurant which is a gathering place for the Argentine community, and she has low self-esteem as she is slightly overweight, insecure, and shocked by Eric's attention. But this romance blossoms..I mean REALLY blossoms...and makes Victoria wonder if Eric is back in town for good, or is this too good to be true?At the same time, Eric's parents are wondering the same thing. Has there son left them for good or will he return and dutifully come back and be part of their lives as he would have been had they not left to come to America.
Meanwhile, Victoria's parents find their marriage coming undone. Victor, a bit stereotypical but not unlike what we see quite often in life, runs the club and runs the family. He is stubborn and a very macho, tough husband, as well as father. Jacqueline seems to take her role as wife as if it were written that she must hide her feelings when she knows her husband is unfaithful, as well as the emotional pain from her children grown, her house empty, and her dreams unfulfilled. She is lonely and longs for home and her younger years.
The story touches on all aspects of the American Dream. How the people in this story do come from another country and do want what America can offer for them and for their children, but they do not forget where they come from. That pride, independence, and love of family are all admirable traits of the characters in this story and people in every day life. I found that author Julia Amante writes beautifully and grabs the reader's attention by drawing you in emotionally to the lives of each of the characters. She also uses a fair amount of Spanish in the story but her context clues (sorry that is the reading teacher in me) make it easy for even non-Spanish speaking readers to still understand what is going on. I really liked this book and recommend it especially for those who want to explore different cultures they may not be familiar with. An evening with this book I think is comparable to a night at the Argentine Club...and an in depth character study of all who are in attendance.
+ 3 MORE ENTRIES: Go back to the first post of this story and read the first and second questions listed in the Reading Group Guide at the end of the post. Choose one to answer YES or NO and tell WHY you think that, having read about the book and my review. Certainly your own beliefs and feelings can enter into your answer. There is no right or wrong answer unless you fail to say YES or NO and to tell WHY you answered that way.