Big Familia

Acre. Nov. 2019. 192p. ISBN 9781946724229. pap. $19. F
DEBUT Single dad Juan Gutiérrez lives in the Bay area, and his “big familia” is multilayered, multiethnic, and pretty much multi-everything. He and his ex-wife Betsy coparent one daughter, Stella, who’s about to go off to college. His boyfriend Jared is his main cycling partner as they bike all over town, but Juan is uncertain about solidifying their partnership further. His extended circle of friends, and the local bar where they hang out, is another touchstone in Juan’s social life. But once Stella leaves town, Juan is forced to face an empty-nester life. Then Nick’s transforms into a karaoke bar. Juan can’t escape change at every turn, including sprawling gentrification in his hometown. Should he completely commit to Jared, which is what Jared wholly wants? And when Stella’s life takes an unexpected turn, Juan’s entire focus shifts.
VERDICT This debut novel from Rad Dad ‘zine editor Moniz is a sweet look at a multilayered modern family and Juan’s possibilities at the precipice of his complicated life. Recommended for readers of domestic fiction with an urban/modern twist, like the works of Stephen McCauley.
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