Las Hijas de Juan

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Josie Mendez-Negrete’s novel, Las Hijas de Juan: Daughters Betrayed, is a very disturbing tale about brutal domestic abuse and incest. Negrete’s novel is an autobiography regarding experiences of incest in a working-class Mexican American family. It is Josie Mendez-Negrete’s story of how she, her siblings, and her mother survived years of violence and sexual abuse at the hands of her father. “Las Hijas de Juan" is told chronologically, from the time Mendez-Negrete was a child until she was a young adult trying, along with the rest of her family, to come to terms with her father 's brutal legacy. It is a upsetting story of abuse and shame compounded by cultural and linguistic isolation and a system of patriarchy that devalues the…show more content…
Mendez-Negrete 's father was tried, convicted, and imprisoned. “Mary Reynaga was our patron saint; she had interceded where no one had. It must have been Mary. It was the day after that weekend binge, and the Santa Clara County welfare department lady told us that a woman who called herself a family friend had called. It had to have been Mary; no one else had the guts” (pg. 136). I was so glad and overwhelmed with happiness when Mendez-Negrete was telling us the story of Juan going to prison. Thank goodness for Mary! This was definitely what the family needed to get themselves back on track away from the abuse and incest. Their lives went on without him. They didn’t have to live in fear anymore; no more beatings, no more peeking, no more raping, no more yelling, and no more drinking. They were free. “Without the monster in our midst, we could now live life and have fun even from our bad luck or at our own expense” (pg. 155). They were able to dance, sing, build relationships, and see their mother come back to life once their father was gone. Then, Josie graduated from high school. Although he was released from prison early and Ama reaccepted him into her life, the girls, Las Hijas de Juan, would not allow that to happen. “To her credit, Ama got rid of him this time. That was the end of her romance” (pg. 175). Although the monster was gone, the girls still suffered while they grew

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