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Face of an Angel

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  273 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Twice married, once divorced and once widowed, Soveida Dosamantes is a survivor. She is currently writing a handbook for waitresses called The Book of Service, a compendium of lessons she has learned working for thirty years at El Farol Mexican Restaurant in the rural Southwest. Looking back on her career, Soveida comes to understand the meaning of service in her own life ...more
Paperback, 467 pages
Published November 1st 1995 by Grand Central Publishing (first published September 1st 1994)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  273 ratings  ·  18 reviews


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Julie
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Women oriented perspective; great read with lots of color and character. Quotes from one of my favorite chapters:
"Life is a great big face, with all the markings of our history on it. These wrinkles are my hardness and my silly worries, my lies and my unspoken words. They are the work I do and the things I left undone."
"M'ija, we've all been taught to hide what we truly feel behind our faces. Some of us eventually wake up to see the masks our faces have become."
"Today, m'ija, you rarely meet a
...more
Kricket
When I read this book I sink all the way in and never want to come out. Denise Chavez creates the most beautiful women- Soveida, her mother Dolores, her grandmother Lupe, her cousin Mara, their servant and friend Oralia. Soveida narrates all of their stories braided together. They are stories of service, of angels, of milagros- miracles.
Jamie
Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
Those who know me understand that I love to read almost as much as I love to eat. This book combines both of my loves - great writing and Mexican food. I love the descriptions in this book - Chavez makes me feel as if I were part of the main character Soveida's extended family.
cristina dowdle
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! I actually bought many copies to give as gifts to all my Latina girlfriends! Everyone who read it, loved it.
Tricia Dower
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A will ride of a read about a woman's life in New Mexico from birth until she's somewhere in her thirties. It reminded me of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao in its free-wheeling, wide-ranging style and its blend of English and Spanish and I wondered if Junor Diaz was influenced by it as Angel was published first. Angel reads like a memoir with its incredible level of detail and deeply developed characters. It's written almost as discrete essays with titles although it does have an ...more
Bob
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bob by: Mary Lamb
Shelves: western
Soveida Dosamantes' childhood, youth, and middle age are presented as a series of recollections, conversations, stories, prayers, even school and college papers and a series of instructions The Book of Service" to the new woman who will replace her as the head waitress at El Farol Mexican restaurant. Synchronizing all this (within a structure based on the orders of angels!) is a stunning achievement. Most of the 'chapters' could be read independently, as short stories or essays, but work ...more
Gypsy Lady
Sep 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Page 139
“There was a little gray mouse who saw a pot boiling on the stove,” Oralia had said as we sat in her kitchen. “Twice its mother told her not to look into the pot, to be careful. The third time the curious mouse peered into the pot, fell in, and became Mouse stew. The moral of the story is: Little girls or little mice can sometimes be too curious for their own good.”

“It’s such a sad story, Oralia! Don’t you feel sorry for the little mouse?” I asked.

"No, and you know why, Soveida?” Oralia
...more
Joleen
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is powerful and so unforgettable. Passages, scenes, moments from this book still come wafting into my consciousness from time to time, and they always make me smile. It happened today and made me realize I loaned/gave my copy to someone many years ago, most likely in my travels (where good books are a useful currency). I need to get hold of another copy to reread it. This is just a beautifully crafted & eloquent book that rings authentic. I must have been close to the same age as ...more
Tom Leland
Oct 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I know I'm in trouble when a book begins with a family tree page.
I couldn't, or wouldn't, work hard enough to get to know every
aunt and grandparent and half-sibling, but I don't think it cost
me much enjoyment--it's a lively read, and a revealing glimpse
at the hispanic/catholic culture in the U.S., ala Rain of Gold.
The story jumps ahead quickly and sideways often, and though
that style keeps me from caring much for any one character,
the continuous energy and author's wisdom carried me through it.
Moon Maiden (M. Perez)
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! After knowing Denise and then reading this wonderfully written book shows that women, no matter their ethnicity or culture are strong and go through many situations in life but must try to keep the family together. I appreciate the values this book holds. Thank you Denise for writing and sharing this with the world!
Dianne
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is the complex saga of a group of working-class Latina women in small-town New Mexico, the extended family of the narrator’s great-grandfather, who emigrated from Mexico. Intricately told by Soveida Dosamantes, the stories of these women are painful, beautiful and sometimes humorous. They are about women trying to find their own voices and place in the world amidst a family legacy of incest, physical abuse and cheating and unreliable men and fathers; pressures of the Catholic church; ...more
Perry Ervin
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting read after having lived in the general region of which she writes. I was able to map out my own village-life experience and follow her characters quite well. Curiosity made it easy to slip into the story. I heard Ms. Chavez read excerpts from this book many years ago while living in Colorado. From that experience, I bought and read the book. Though I come from a different side of the US, there is a shared experience that transcends cultural backgrounds, the small town experience ...more
Cat
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can’t imagine how a book could be better and more beautiful than this. For me, this is a perfect book. I adored it.
Annie
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the story, all of the characters are people I have met and appreciated (or, hated) during my years in NM. Especially good to read this as an exhibit about Chicano civil rights action has been on display where I work, so those aspects of the story resonated for me. This book continued my education.
Susie
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
It was good but I liked 'Loving Pedro Infante' better; this one is kinda sad.
Dora
Tried first few pages again. Not appealing. At's a goner.
Molly
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
beautifully written
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Feb 25, 2019
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Feb 17, 2008
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Denise Elia Chavez (born August 15, 1948) is an American author, playwright, and stage director. She was born to an Hispano family in Las Cruces, New Mexico, United States, and graduated from Madonna High School in Mesilla. She received her Bachelor's from New Mexico State University and Master's degrees in Dramatic Arts from Trinity University. While in college, she began writing dramatic works. ...more