Review: Free Style by Linda Nieves-Powell

As I mentioned in this review, I have been blessed with many books from publishers and authors, so many that I can’t read them fast enough.  My wonderful book club friend, Elaine, was kind enough to read and review three of them for me.  Here is her 2nd review for Books on the Brain:

Free Style, a debut novel by Linda Nieves-Powell, is the story of 35 year old Idalis Rivera, a Latina mom of a 6 year old boy and newly separated from her husband, Manny.  Idalis is struggling with her life, trying to figure out what will make her happy.  Her best friend, Selenis, is also miserable, as a stay-at-home mom with three children, an aging mother who lives with her, and a husband who spends his time at home with computer porn.  Idalis is constantly wishing for her carefree life in the past, when she and Selenis lived in the Bronx, and danced “Free Style” (which is dancing alone) at Club 90.  

Idalis whines and cries through most of the book, mostly about Manny.  She is a weak, indecisive character, who believes status quo is the easiest way to get through life.  She searches for happiness in the past, by going back find her old friends at Club 90, and she struggles with whether to return with Manny or to start dating another man.  Idalis’ mother is constantly meddling to try to get her and Manny back together, not because that is what is best for her daughter, but because her generation/culture believes that divorce is not an option.  When life throws Idalis even more challenges towards the end of the book, with a health crisis, and her advertising job, where they seem to be “using” her as the only Latina employee (besides the janitor) to impress a Latino client, she decides it is time to step up and take a stand. 

Free Style is a fun, light, fast read, with all the vitality and energy of Idalis herself.  Although it is not a funny story, Idalis is certainly a comic narrator – when she is not arguing or crying.  At times, the many, many scenes with Idalis and Manny fighting become tedious and repetitive…just like any couple’s arguments, it seems like they always seem to be rehashing the same issues.  Powell (or Idalis, since she is the narrator) is more crude than I typically like to read…a variety of swear words are used loosely, and descriptions of body parts and sexual acts are comically blunt.   But, if you are not bothered by the language, you are in the mood for some mommy soul searching, and you would like to see the world through one Latina woman’s eyes, than you may enjoy this novel.  

Blogger Bio:  Elaine Legere is a stay-at-home mommy and part-time marketing consultant, after years of working for Disney, Palm (aka Palm Pilot), Los Angeles Times, and Details Magazine.  She received her BA at UCLA in English Literature and an MBA from University of Colorado. She is an avid reader, loves movies, and all things outdoors.

You can check out the author’s website HERE

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