Review: To Selena, With Love

I mentioned previously that I plan to share every review I write on here going forward. Today I’m talking SELENA.

Chris Perez tells the story of his life with Selena, though their time was so awfully cut short.

It’s impossible to put into words how beloved Selena is within the Mexican-American community. Because for much of her short life, she was like every one of us. Her family wasn’t well off. She didn’t speak Spanish. The balance between the Mexican part of you doesn’t always match with the American part. And on and on.

In this work Chris Perez has done what only he could. Throughout the 2+ decades since her death we are always treated to the story from the Quintanilla perspective. The movie and the series do the same. Chris doesn’t aim to retell what we already know. He reveals a side none of us do. Selena at home. Selena after a long day out on the bus. Selena just before bed. Selena the person, not the budding superstar. It’s fitting for her love story to finally be shared after so many years. We all know she eloped with Chris against her father’s wishes, but this work shows just how much it took for them to reach that point.

The most heartbreaking aspect of their story is obviously her death. The despair he endured after comes right off the pages and envelopes you as you read.

Like so many, I’m too young to have known Selena before her death. Her brilliant life may have been cut short, but she continues to live on today, tomorrow, and always.

An intimate window into her love story. 5 stars.

The book and the new series are very different. If you’re interested in hearing what I have to say about the Netflix show, I got ya.

This year I’m going to actively track my reading progress as the year moves forward.

2020 on January 8 – 0 books
2021 on January 8 – 2 books

A Letter to America

Dear America,

America is me. When people hear me identify as “Mexican-American” most think nothing of it. But some think of me as being a part of “other”, as being different from them. I’m not. Both of my parents were born in Texas. My grandparents were born in Texas. My great grandparents were not. Which means I’m exactly the same as nearly every other American in that I’m a descendant of immigrants.

I point this out because I must. The next president of the United States has said things and proposed actions that make me as a Mexican-American feel disrespected, hated, and alarmed. He’s done the same to women, African-Americans, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, and just about every group of people that looks differently than he does.

Donald Trump is not my president. He doesn’t represent or stand for anything I do. I know I’m not the only one acknowledging this. But something we must understand is that now is not the time to sit down in shock at what has transpired. Now is more important than ever to stand up for what we believe in, to make sure our voices are louder than ever. Yes, Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States of America. But don’t believe for one second that hate, racism, homophobia, or xenophobia won last night. Those things will never truly win as long as we, the people continue to stand up and speak out about the things we hold dear.

I’m shocked just as millions of others are, but this is not the end. We’re headed toward a better, more tolerant future. Even if we face a minor setback along the way.

A college educated, Mexican-American millennial,

John Guillen

20 Years ago Today…

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Selena Quintanilla Perez was killed.

And if you think about that, then you realize I was only three at the time of her death. Everything I’ve learned and know about Selena came after her death.

Now I’d bet that most of you have no idea who I’m talking about. And I’m going to tell you why that is. Selena was shot by her fan club president and friend just two weeks before her 24th birthday. She was not a rising star, she was not up and coming…Selena was a superstar within the Latino community. Superstar. She brought tejano music to a more mainstream audience. But after accomplishing just about all she could accomplish, it was decided that she’d crossover into pop music with an English album.

See, Selena was Mexican-American. Just like me. She spoke perfect English and struggled a bit with her Spanish, but she’d always sang in Spanish. So her crossover was more about timing than about ability. She could sing. She could dance. She could perform with the best artists of her time, and she built up an enormous fan base that was ready for her to make the move.

But she never had that opportunity. Her crossover album was released just a couple of months after her death. But I want to tell you what I truly believe would have happened had she been able to continue an already extraordinary career.

You would absolutely know her name. She would have been one of the top selling artists of the 2000s. She would have dozens upon dozens of awards. And she’d have appeared on Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World lists several times.

Oh, and Jennifer Lopez may not exist as we know her. The coincidence is that Jennifer Lopez got her break by portraying Selena in the movie about her life. If there’s no movie, who knows what might have happened. I honestly think Selena would have been the Jennifer Lopez we know today. She would have had her hand in everything.

Selena Quintanilla Perez is a LEGEND within the Latino community and Texas. She was named the top selling Latin artist of the 90s and the overall top Latin artist of the same decade. Her crossover album Dreaming of You debuted at number 1 and topped the Latin Albums chart for nine consecutive months. I imagine that most of you are unfamiliar with her music, so here are her two pop songs that you might just happen to know.

If you’d like to know more about Selena, I encourage you to go here.

If you haven’t seen the movie about her life, you can stream it on YouTube or Amazon for $2.99.

Selena, rest in peace. You’re impacting more people every single day.