May 2020 Book Club Selection

Fruit of the Drunken Tree
Contreras, Ingrid Rojas: Fruit of the Drunken Tree (2018)

Discussion: Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 6:30-8:00 pm. Online meeting via Zoom; e-mail bookclub AT crpca.org for the login information.

Review: © Booklist: In this incomparable debut novel, Contreras draws on her own experience growing up in turbulent 1990s Bogotá, Colombia, amid the violence and social instability fueled by Pablo Escobar’s narcotics trafficking. In vividly rendered prose, textured with generous Spanish, Contreras tells the story of an unlikely bond between two girls on the verge of womanhood: Chula, the daughter of a middle-class family, and Petrona, the teenager hired to serve as the family’s maid. While Chula’s family can afford to protect themselves behind the suburban walls of a gated community, Petrona must support her many siblings as they struggle to survive the inner-city slums. Despite their differences, and driven by Chula’s curiosity about Petrona’s odd habits, the two become inseparably close until decisions must be made that will alter their futures forever. Contreras’ deeply personal connection to the setting lends every scene a vital authenticity, and a seemingly unlimited reservoir of striking details brings the action to life, like the trumpets and accordions on Christmas Eve, or the messy Afro of Petrona’s suspicious new boyfriend. A riveting, powerful, and fascinating first novel.

Where to find it:
Libraries: Clackamas Co | Ft Vancouver | Multnomah Co | Washington Co
Vendors: Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

February 2017 Book Club Selection

Even Silence Has an End
Betancourt, Ingrid: Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle (2010)

Discussion: Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at the home of Mari Levesque, 1946 SE 22nd Ave in Portland, 503-858-0621. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Synopsis: Ingrid Betancourt tells the story of her captivity in the Colombian jungle, sharing teachings of resilience, resistance, and faith. Born in Bogotá, raised in France, Betancourt at age 32 gave up a life of comfort and safety to return to Colombia to become a political leader in a country that was being slowly destroyed by terrorism, violence, fear, and hopelessness. In 2002, while a candidate in the Colombian presidential elections, she was abducted by the FARC. She spent the next six and a half years in the depths of the jungle as their prisoner. Chained day and night for much of her captivity, she succeeded in getting away several times, always to be recaptured. The facts of her story are astounding, but it is Betancourt’s indomitable spirit that drives this very special account, bringing life, nuance, and profundity to the narrative.

Where to find it:
Libraries: Clackamas Co | Ft Vancouver | Multnomah Co | Washington Co
Vendors: Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Noble