Thursday, September 04, 2008

Down to the Bone and Down to the Truth

My Take:

First, much in the way Rigoberto Gonzalez cracked the lavender ceiling with prose and poetry, LGBT youth, young women especially, can see their lives reflected in Down to the Bone. This books shatters the invisibility of young lesbians in Latino/a lit, and it does so with heart, with a finely etched, portrait of the protagonist, Laura. Laura falls in love and commits the cardinal sin of getting caught reading a love letter, and must face isolation from her family and expulsion from school.

But that's only one aspect of this book. Laura is thoughtful, tender, self-aware, and struggles between an authentic life and the closet---we get a bird's eye view of what losses she faces and what precious truth. This is a coming-of-age story worthy of a close read for anyone who wants to feel the razor's edge many LGBT youth face day in and day out. Down to the Bone is certainly a bright mirror in which our young women-loving sisters can see themselves. It's also a loving touchstone for those adult hermanas who have come before and opened the closet door.

What other people have written about Down to the Bone:

"Down to the Bone is a funny, bold, and poignant novel readers will quite enjoy. I loved the great characters, and the setting of Miami! I’ve never been to Miami, but reading these books set there (this and Total Constant Order, most recently) really makes me want to go! Also the fact that I am freezing here makes the weather there sound like heaven…

I loved this fresh, engaging, and honest book about love of all kinds, friendship, heartbreak, family, and life in general. Down to the Bone is a promising debut novel, and I look forward to Mayra Lazara Dole’s future writing."
Jocelyn Under, Teen Book Review Reviews & News on Young Adult/Teen Fiction

From Mayra's editor, Rosemary Brosnan, Executive Editor. Children's Books/Harper Collins:

"I’m delighted to share with you Down to the Bone, a first novel by Mayra Lazara Dole, a Cuban-born author with a fresh new voice. When I first read this manuscript, I was struck by Mayra’s portrayal of a Cuban Miami that is rarely written about—a Miami that is so alive that it almost becomes a character in her book. Mayra exposes intolerance on many levels within her community—an act of bravery on her part. But most of all, she reveals how her protagonist, Laura, learns how the word family can be defined in many different ways.

Mayra suffers from M.C.S., or Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and must live in a “bubble” in order to survive—a glassed-in room. A chemical injury from pesticides damaged her immune system. I have never spoken with her, as it is too exhausting for her to speak on the phone. When she feels well enough, we communicate by e-mail, and our work together was done on the computer, rather than with hard copy, as paper and ink contain chemicals. Unless she recovers, Mayra will not be able to hold her book in her hand when it is finished; however, her life-partner, Damarys, who helped us a great deal throughout the book production process, will hold the book up to the glass so Mayra can see it, and she will read it to her via speakerphone.

Working on this book was a meaningful experience to me in many ways. I am glad that Mayra wrote this important and vibrant novel, and I’m proud to be publishing it."


Hailed as a “truth-telling visionary” by Brass Magazine and a “lyrical prophet” by the Caymanian Compass, CARLOS ANDRÉS GÓMEZ is a leading voice at the vanguard of the oral poetry movement. The iconic slam poet, actor, and playwright is a Russell Simmons' HBO Def Poet and 2006 International Poetry Slam Champion. He co-stars in Spike Lee's #1 box office smash hit film "INSIDE MAN," with his breakout lead role as “Steve” alongside Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen. The award-winning New York artist recently closed the soloNOVA Theater Festival with a sold-out run of his one-man play, “MAN UP,” which he then took to Scotland for a critically acclaimed month-long run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Carlos, described by Underrated Magazine as “raw and intense…a rebel Don Juan with a sensitive edge,” was called “a must-see” and given five out of five stars by Hairline Magazine in England.

A former social worker and public school teacher who has become a favorite on the college/university circuit, he just wrapped his 26-date REBEL WITH A CAUSE NATIONAL TOUR.

Most recently, he collaborated with Tony Award-winning tap dance legend Savion Glover at The Town Hall on Broadway. Their much lauded performance, featured as part of the Nuyorican Poets Café’s “Aloud and Alive at 35” anniversary show, received a standing ovation from the sold-out audience.

This is the central hub for all information regarding Carlos' touring schedule and upcoming gigs/projects, as well as a networking forum for fans of his work.

It will also include special "SECRET SHOW" invitations exclusively for friends on FACEBOOK - so keep checking in for those forthcoming announcements.

Want to know where to get tickets for one of his shows?

Wondering if he'll be visiting your city or town sometime soon?

Interested in bringing him to your college or university?


To book CARLOS for a college/university show or other engagement:
Contact Info
New York, NY
Recent News

*Aug. 23rd -- "FATE BY THE THROAT" Double Album Release Show/Party @ Bowery Poetry Club (New York, NY)

PLUS special guest appearances by:
- Felice Belle
- Celena Glenn a.k.a. Black Cracker
- Roger Bonair-Agard
- Lynne Procope

*Aug. 30th&31st -- Toronto Urban Music Festival (Toronto, Canada)

*Sep. 3rd-28th -- Travel to Kenya & Rwanda (shooting for MYTH OF THE MOTHERLAND documentary film)

*Sep. 29th-Oct. 4th -- POETRY AFRICA Festival
(Durban, South Africa)
United States Poetry Representative

*Oct. 21st-26th -- KOSMOPOLIS International Festival of Literature
(Barcelona, Spain)

*Dec. 10th-13th -- Individual World Poetry Slam Championships
(Charlotte, NC, United States)
NYC/louderARTS representative

Lisa Alvarado

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