Deborah Rodriguez’ Margarita Wednesdays begins with a pop-pop-pop sending the writer out of her bed, onto her feet and then falling to the floor as memories of another time and place overtook reason for a moment before Rodriguez remembered she was no longer in Afghanistan, and the explosions were not likely to be gunfire directed at herself or anyone else.
This American born woman who had married an Afghan man had lived in that country for a period of time during which the sounds of fighting had often raged not too far from her front gate.
Flight from the land she had embraced and had come to love was precipitated during spring 2007, by realization that she and her 20 year old son Noah were in imminent danger. Word on the street was that Noah was targeted for kidnapping or worse; and that was something Rodriguez knew she could not allow. Her own life was beginning to unravel, her marriage had become a sham, and life in Afghanistan had to end as quickly and safely as possible.
Seeking refuge first in the wine country area of northern California Rodriguez eventually trekked south, crossed the border and took up residence near the coast in Mazatlán.
Impertinent, perceptive, and unashamedly forthright, Rodriguez guides the reader on the passage of insight, realization and restoration away from the life filled with people who offered little in the way of solace and away from her own poor choices regarding life, relationships and location to the life she has embraced and feels at home, with friends and family nearby.
Advice that she should communicate with glowworms and embrace self-examination for one year, was the tipping point for Rodriguez who following a cruise to Mexico and despite knowing no one in the area as well as having no real plan, and little to no Spanish packed belongings, and her cat, in to a Mini Cooper and began driving south.
Middle aged, adventuresome, the self-described drama queen found herself unemployed, owner of a small house purchased with a portion of the small savings she had at her disposal and determined to settle down, find work and establish a life filled with friends, joy and not a lot of stress.
The title of the book includes the word memoir and it is pretty much a slice of the life of the writer rather than a relationship or self-help, although it is listed as self-help. And, perhaps for those who may be trying to work through a knotty situation and are finding some of the introspective type works less helpful, this book may be an aid to the catharsis often needed to help provoke our own self-realization.
This is not a book for everyone, there are those who are sure to be put off by the blunt language and baring of so much of what may be seen as the more personal and private life of the writer.
On the other hand, for those who do enjoy a straightforward tale, and one that is filled with some pithy insight; this book may be more than a simple telling of the a period in the life of the writer and may indeed become the catalyst designed to aid the reader gather courage to contemplate leaving a destructive situation or relationship and striking out to discover his/her own reservoir of strength.
I find Rodriguez’ breezy, blunt writing style to be very readable. She is an excellent weaver of a tale, readers will find their interest whetted via the uninhibited panache of Rodriguez’ writing. I like when someone, writer or not, can see their mistakes, can laugh at themselves and not resort to mawkish or maudlin behavior or writing in order to gain empathy or sympathy for their plight.
Rodriguez’ desire to aid other women toward a better life is commendable. Embarking on a journey toward restorative self-realization, free enterprise, and giving back to the community is not always an easy one. Rodriguez did this and by the end of her manuscript, has even entered into a relationship which is proving to be good, healthy and fulfilling.
Reviewed by: molly martin
20+ years classroom teacher
20+ years classroom teacher