GIVE IT TO ME: LAMBDA Award winning novel (2014)



‘Give It To Me’ by Ana Castillo
Review by July Westhale
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A writer’s relationship with solitude is paradoxical. Alone time is necessary for completing work, yet if writing is done correctly, it can create a sense of global community that inspires solidarity. If done well, an otherwise insular experience relayed through a story can make the personal and intimate something universal and poignant, something that speaks to the human condition with authority and grace. I think here of the poetry of Nikki Finney, who wrote in her book of poems Head Off & Split about the experience of the devastation of Katrina as a working class Black woman in such a way that the book spoke across the disparity of sociopolitical differences.

It’s a gift when we find books like these. They are treasures where we can find our hardest experiences laid bare in front of us, as if to say, drink deeply and feel assured. Such is the case with Ana Castillo’s book Give It to Me. A gritty, yet humorous, book with unflinchingly honest characters, the novel follows protagonist Palma Piedras, a forty-three year old Latina divorcee who ignites an intensely deep sexual obsession with her cousin Pepito. Through the lens of Palma’s positionality (her upbringing with Pepito in their grandmother’s house, her failed marriage to an abusive man, her artistic aspirations, and her single, transient lifestyle complete with a cavalier house cat), the reader is invited into her world where everything, including the scenery, has a razor-sharp edge.

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