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Love War Stories

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  287 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Puerto Rican girls are brought up to want one thing: true love. Yet they are raised by women whose lives are marked by broken promises, grief, and betrayal. While some believe that they’ll be the ones to finally make it work, others swear not to repeat cycles of violence. This collection documents how these “love wars” break out across generations as individuals find thems ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by The Feminist Press at CUNY
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  287 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Yoew every single story in this collection is straight flames!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how much I love a great short story collection, bonus points if it is set in the Caribbean.

I am constantly looking to read short stories and I randomly added LOVE WAR STORIES to by TBR last year thinking I would get around to it…. At least by June. Fast forward to 2021 and I receive a donation to the BookOfCinz Library which includes this collection. Y’all, I started reading it immed
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Memorable characters carry these stories straight into the reader's heart. The various characters' earnest yearnings are made compelling by lively storytelling and Rodriguez's wonderful eye for detail. Rodriguez is also surefooted in the way she deftly gives each character strong outlines, either through dialogue or by sketching out personality quirks. My favorite stories are Summer of Nene and El qué dirán. ...more
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I believe that this book is going to be a classic--a book that MFA students will study for the wonderful writing, and women's studies and other students will study it for the rich content about women's lives. People who want to know about women in Puerto Rico will read it for the Latina wisdom it provides. It won't be a book I quickly forget.

The characters in these stories were richly portrayed, multi-dimensional human beings who I'd like to meet. From the young woman whose husband went to the
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5: I know people tend to hate the self-instituted half-point ratings.

"Summer of Nene" and the titular "Love War Stories" were my faves. All of these stories standout and really do encapsulate the theme of love, often not always with a happy ending, but often not leaving folks unquestioning and unfulfilled. Love Rodriguez's voice and the characters she brings to life.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
You can read my review of this powerful book in an upcoming issue of The Brooklyn Rail.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such a fascinating mix of perspectives, experiences, and tones that bring vibrant insight into a variety of cultural and intergenerational tensions intimately tied to the acts of searching for, trying to understand, and finding love. This book contains beautiful meditations on love and its complicated nature; on cultural perceptions and the mythologizing of women in love in both macro and micro scales; and the insecurities and emotional strength of Puerto Rican women as they search and attempt t ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Joseph, a literature student at Berkeley, is the son of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father. One day, a mysterious package arrives on his doorstep,
Elliott Turner
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars - a dazzling collection of bildungwomans that revolve around the Boricua diaspora in the Northeast. Young women learn about love, loss, and themselves. I also liked the story about a queer relationship with a prominent mobility impaired character.

Great sense of humor and a window into Boricua customs and beliefs. Not a weak story in the set imo
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was so excited to read this book and even woke up at 4:00 a.m. to start it. I read it in one sitting. Ivelisse wrote this book for all my fellow Boricua daughters and moms. The complicated relationships they form, exhibiting what love looks like for them, and carrying their inter-generational trauma of what is perceived as love versus reality. A love story will not save you nor define who you are and what your legacy will be. I wish I read this book in my teenage years. I saw glimpses of my yo ...more
R.L. Maizes
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What I loved about Ivelisse Rodriguez’s collection LOVE WAR STORIES: 1. The author’s voice. It was unlike one I’d read before but made me instantly comfortable, secure in its powers of storytelling. 2. The author’s insights about the role love plays in the lives and imaginations of the Puerto Rican girls she writes about and the conflicts it creates with their mothers. 3. Women and girls are at the centers of these stories, their hearts exposed on every page, daring the reader to look away. And ...more
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book! Each story kept you engaged and was different from the rest, you could find yourself in each character too. A quick and easy read, well worth it!
Laura Leaney
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Poly Book Club
There are nine stories here, linked together by the desires and griefs of young Puerto Rican girls (with the exception of one story from a boy's point of view). The writing is good, although sometimes overwrought, perhaps to emphasize the youth of the protagonists, and I enjoyed the collection. Still, I got a tiny bit tired of the emphasis on boys and was thinking that this might be a great book for young people who might identify more strongly with the characters.

My favorite stories were "Summe
Ashley Velazquez
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book.

Maybe I’ll write more about it later, but it was both painful and beautiful page to page.
Maria Paiz
In this short story collection, Ivelisse Rodríguez focuses on the many facets of love, from a Latina perspective. In these pages you can feel the Latino culture –particularly the Newyorican community– bursting from the page, from its loud colors and pulsating music, to the high dramas constructed around love. As a Guatemalan and American, it was easy for me to relate to the burdens that our Hispanic culture generally centers around love: heavily charged with inherited old-fashioned beliefs; sexu ...more
Sandra Barron
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A former professor of mine once pointed out how we love to hear stories about ourselves but we also relish being taken into into secret subcultures that we don't belong to. This story collection did both for me. Not having grown up inside the Newyorican enclaves (counting big cities in MA and NJ), I loved being escorted on a tour of that world. In Holyoke, Mass: An Ethonography, I feel like I slipped into a bathroom stall unseen and was getting a rare and fascinating glimpse into what the tough ...more
Chris Gonzalez
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
LOVE WAR STORIES remains one of my favorite short story collections from 2018. Stories that are honest and funny and tender, about what Puerto Rican women and girls are expected to endure and put themselves through to be with men, for this idea of ever-lasting love.
Sharon Velez Diodonet
"and I think about TV and how people fall in love , have families, and spend lives together. Not like it is around here; people love for a little while
...And I wonder what makes love last."

Love War Stories by Ivelisse Rodriguez is a short story collection that aimed to dissect the concept of love and show the many layers and aspects of it. I am a fan of short stories and this is one that is now one of my favorites. Every story brings up a new question about love and exposes another complexity.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Ivelisse Rodriguez is a new voice and an important one. This is a collection of short stories by a Latina, a Puerto Rican who grew up in Massachusetts. The book was nominated for a prestigious PEN Fiction award, the only short stories in its category. All the stories explore the love-hate relationship Puerto Rican women have with love. You must have a man. Women without husbands are suspect, even if that husband left them long ago. Girls are groomed to impress the right boys, yet they end up lov ...more
Mona  AlvaradoFrazier
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a short story collection which observes and explores generations of women who have consuming relationships, betrayal, and different expectations of love. The back cover describes the stories well:

"Puerto Rican girls are raised to want one thing: true love. Yet they are brought up by women whose lives are marked by grief and betrayal...While some believe they'll be the ones to make it work, others swear not to repeat cycles of violence..."

Not only Puerto Ricans girls are socialized t
Mar 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing

Love War stories really tugged at my heartstrings, the stories beautifully captured all realms of love-including the good, the bad, and the ugly. I loved that this was centered on the Puerto Rican perspective in such an authentic way. I also loved the way this book challenges traditional expectations for women when it comes to marriage, motherhood, and love. I enjoyed reading about sensitive topics that generally are not spoken about in the Latino community such as not wanting to be a mother, sa
Omnibus of short stories, most of which involve:
-Young women being abandoned or cheated on by their boyfriends
-Mothers who are emotionally abusive in some way
-Fathers who are close with their daughters but did their mothers wrong, thus precipitating the abuse
-Arecibo, Puerto Rico
-Springfield, MA and its surrounding area (Holyoke, Chicopee, etc.)
-New York City, particularly Puerto Rican girls going to graduate school, college, private school in NYC

Well-written and interesting but a little repetit
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been interested in this book , Since I came across it. What I loved the most , it’s that a Puerto Rican women was the author . So I knew I had to read it . I loved every story of this book . I learn that she was born in Puerto Rico and raised in holyoke . Like me I was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Springfield which is like 30 min from holyoke. The stories that I really enjoyed ( not that that I didn’t enjoyed the others ) was “ Holyoke , mass “ “ El que Diran and “La hija de chango “
Joe Bruno
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This collection is very strong. One of the ways I evaluate fiction is whether the author can take me out of myself and make me feel what they feel. Ivelisse Rodriguez has that ability. I read this collection slowly, I fought the urge to read straight through and I am glad I did. The full gamut of emotion is displayed here and certain cultural aspects illuminated. I heard the author is working on a novel, I can't wait! ...more
The Dude
Jul 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
What's really sad is the woman who really writes exceptionally well about every aspect concerning Puerto Rican women will never get her due. Aurora Levins Morales' Recipe for Heartbreak puts all these stories to shame. Do yourself a favor and find this story to truly understand the problems that come with being a Puerto Rican woman, which are many and involve a lot more than love. ...more
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read the full review here:

I wasn't sure what to expect from this collection, but from page one, I absolutely fell in love with Rodriguez's writing and the characters she created. It didn't feel like I was reading a short story; it felt like I was voyeur-ing my way through real people in real situations.

Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This gorgeous short story collection made me Ivelisse's writing is electric. She captures the amorphous (this weird thing called love) with visceral clarity. Her characters are diverse & complex; moving through moments of mourning/yearning. One of my absolute favourite reads of the year so far. ...more
Kim Imas
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a18
LOVE WAR STORIES is the kind of debut that doesn't so much burst out of the gate as blow the whole gatehouse down.

Every story is a gripping look at the inner lives of Puerto Rican women--women who span multiple generations, classes, and geographies. Rodriguez writes each of them with a distinctive voice and in a wry style of prose that’s an absolute delight to read.

She shows us again and again that while the heart is a muscle, it’s one that’s easily torn when you love BIG. And while her stories
Marguerite Maria
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully crafted stories! My English Comp class is reading Love War Stories and and is enjoying them. Class discussion touches upon issues of gender and of love and turn out to be the liveliest class sessions of all.
Theresa Varela
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love and War speaks to the heart. It reminds us as women about the complexities of being young, having our hands touch our hearts, with the strings that bind us to our lineage pulling them away. Totally enjoyed this read.
Michelle Becker
Aug 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Usually, I try not to read reviews before I finish the book. I was going to stop reading this collection but changed my mind after reading reviews. The reviews enlightened me and I then read on. I learned, I laughed, I cried.
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Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Ivelisse Rodriguez grew up in Holyoke, Massachusetts. She earned a B.A. in English from Columbia University, an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College, and a Ph.D. in English-creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Her short story collection, Love War Stories, is forthcoming from The Feminist Press in summer 2018. Her fiction chapbook The

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10 likes · 5 comments
“Love between two people is up close, disheveled - a melange of past, present, future love and acrimony. And this is how I must love my mother. Love her the way I want her to love my father again.” 1 likes
“But when we got home, my mother thrashed out her words, letting them bounce off the walls. She would not have this, love is a farce, men do nothing but beat and trample on women and so help her God no daughter of hers was going to turn out to be a low-life basura de la calle. So she beat me, telling me all the while that this was the way the men would beat me. And for each stroke there was a story. She took me through history, through all the ages telling me about the plight of las mujeres.” 0 likes
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