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In Search of the Holy Mother of Jobs, by Pat LittleDog.

April 23, 2012

In Search of the Holy Mother of Jobs, by Pat LittleDog. Cinco Puntos Press (1996), Paperback, 128 pages. (Hell Yes! Texas Women Series).

A funny, powerful, and sometimes raunchy account of a woman never sure of how she will survive.

Nothing is terribly clear in this book. That is part of its appeal. It seems to be a largely autobiographical narrative. The first section takes place in El Paso, where the author and her first husband live on the bottom edge of the middle class; she working as a secretary of a local bigwig, he as a TV announcer. Domestic help is so cheap they can afford to hire Mexican women who play a role in some of the stories. But the couple is drifting downward for no clear reason. She does striptease to earn money, and they sell drugs. Then in the second section, she runs a bookstore in Austin, living in its dark basement with a man. Her desire to write creatively draws her out to a teaching job, but eventually she comes back to the bookstore and Austin.

LittleDog writes well, using experimental forms which draw the reader in. Her descriptions of places are particularly strong. Unlike Ann Romney, Pat LittleDog understands the difference between the work of raising children and employment. In the introduction, she describes herself setting out to write about the paid labor women do, but her book strays into a wider range of situations; sex, creativity, and the bookstore where she lives and works to support herself.

This book was published by Cinco Puntos Press, a small press in El Paso with a variety of interesting books by women and Hispanics. Check it out.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy LittleDog’s perspective on life, but not to those who want their lives and their stories neat and clean.

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