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InstaReview: Five Wounds by Kirstin Valdez Quade

"Real suffering isn't just about physical pain, but about not knowing when the pain will end, not knowing what the point of it all is."

The Five Wounds by Kirstin Valdez Quade is the bread-and-butter of @overeducatedwomenwithcats - that is, a multi-generational family saga. This debut novel follows the Padilla family as they stumble through life in Las Penas, New Mexico. There is Yolanda, the matriarch, trying to keep the family together while dealing with her own devastating news; Amadeo, her son, who has yet to make much of his life but has recently rediscovered a religious brotherhood that he is using as a crutch to give meaning to his life; and Angel, Amadeo's previously estranged teenage daughter, who is now pregnant and has come to her patriarchal home for refuge. The novel follows the family through a series of missteps and failures of communication, with a splash of good news to keep us from being truly devastated. The Five Wounds does an excellent job of writing flawed characters that we are both annoyed with yet root for- we enjoyed following every character, including other family members that pop in as well. We highly recommend, especially if you like difficult, complex, and often unlikeable characters, and want to get into the spirit during Semana Santa this year.


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