Weav­ing fam­ily mem­o­rie

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

“IT WAS a big whoops mo­ment,” said Meg Med­ina about the real-life in­ci­dent that also ap­pears in her new novel, Merci Suárez Changes Gears.

Med­ina was a mid­dle school teacher when it hap­pened. Like her 11-year-old main char­ac­ter, Merci, she made a huge mis­take on a pro­ject about an­cient Egypt. The con­se­quences, for Merci, are sur­pris­ing, aw­ful and kind of funny – all at the same time. Two things that in­flu­enced the book are Med­ina’s love of bike rid­ing and her fear of a dress­maker’s dummy that re­minded her of a head­less ghost when she was a kid.

Med­ina also drew on mem­o­ries of her two CubanAmer­i­can grand­moth­ers and other mem­bers of her ex­tended fam­ily. “Ev­ery­one gave ad­vice,” said Med­ina.

Merci feels that way, too.

She lives in Florida with Mami, Papi and her older brother,

Roli. Her grand­par­ents – Abuela and Lolo – and her aunt and naughty twin cousins live in small houses close by. Merci is start­ing sixth grade at the pri­vate school where Roli is a star stu­dent. Mid­dle school is tough for Merci, though. Classes are hard, with lots of home­work, and be­cause she’s a schol­ar­ship stu­dent, Merci feels ex­tra pres­sure to do well. Then there’s Edna San­tos, a pop­u­lar, rich girl who calls Merci a baby be­cause she would rather play soc­cer than gig­gle over boys.

If only she could tell her trou­bles to Lolo! In the past, Merci would her brother’ grand­fa­ther al­ways made

But Lolo of­ten con­fus Merci has to his fam­ily re as watch­ing school. For f ever be able money for t wants? Grow Queens sect City, Med­ina like Merci. S play tag and as read and rid­ing her b

“That wa free­dom,” M yearns for th

Rid­ing a b

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.