L.A. Weather: A Novel

by Maria Amparo Escandon

Book, 2021

Barcode

123462447

Call number

FIC ESC

Collections

Publication

Flatiron Books (2021), 326 pages

Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK "There's a 100% chance you'll be paging through this book to uncover the secrets and deception that could potentially burn everything down!" -- Reese Witherspoon "This is by far one of the most endearing L.A. novels in recent memory."-- Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) "A capacious book, chock-full of human drama...Escandón's narrative voice is often witty and warm, and her meditations on Los Angeles are lush and lyrical...A lively and ambitious family novel." -- New York Times Book Review Storm clouds are on the horizon in L.A. Weather, a fun, fast-paced novel of a Mexican-American family from the author of the #1 Los Angeles Times bestseller Esperanza's Box of Saints L.A. is parched, dry as a bone, and all Oscar, the weather-obsessed patriarch of the Alvarado family, desperately wants is a little rain. He's harboring a costly secret that distracts him from everything else. His wife, Keila, desperate for a life with a little more intimacy and a little less Weather Channel, feels she has no choice but to end their marriage. Their three daughters--Claudia, a television chef with a hard-hearted attitude; Olivia, a successful architect who suffers from gentrification guilt; and Patricia, a social media wizard who has an uncanny knack for connecting with audiences but not with her lovers--are blindsided and left questioning everything they know. Each will have to take a critical look at her own relationships and make some tough decisions along the way. With quick wit and humor, Maria Amparo Escandón follows the Alvarado family as they wrestle with impending evacuations, secrets, deception, and betrayal, and their toughest decision yet: whether to stick together or burn it all down.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member BookConcierge
3.5***

The Alvarado family has always been close-knit. But now the patriarch, Oscar, has retreated and seems to have lost all desire, content to obsessively watch the Weather Channel. His wife, Keila, has had it with Oscar’s moods and has instituted a “Crossed-Legs Strike,” and now at the
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weekly family dinner, she’s announced to their three adult daughters that their marriage is kaput.

This is a funny, engaging, endearing novel that looks at a year in the life of one affluent Mexican-American family. It starts with a near tragedy and the characters (and reader) hardly have time to recover from that event when yet another crisis looms. The girls have their own issues, and before long everyone in the family is spinning and bouncing from issue to issue, like balls in an out-of-balance pinball machine.

Unlike many popular BIPOC novels (and, I love them, too), this one does NOT focus on an immigrant story. No, the Alvarados have been in California since the King of Spain still ruled, and their family was given a land grant to help settle what was then a distant and mostly uninhabited land. And they’ve prospered over many generations.

It’s not really a novel about climate change, but the winds, drought and fires add more tension to the family’s internal strife, and ultimately help them focus on the things they CAN change, rather that what they have no control over. They still make bad decisions, and there is no HEA ending, but I was completely invested in these characters by the end, and I want more!
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LibraryThing member HOTCHA
LA Weather was a fun read as I traveled along with the Alvardo family who just wanted some RAIN, IN CALIFORNIA? His three grown daughters were a hoot!
LibraryThing member Booklover217
"A house is all about the love you put into it."

QOTD: What was a great escape read for you?

L.A. Weather by Maria Amparo Escandón is the escape read that I greatly needed. It had a telenovela feel without all the cheesiness. It centered a Latinx family, love and the ways they survive and live their
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daily lives. It featured a lot of social issues and commentary but never felt heavy. I loved that the issues weren't the characters whole identitiy but instead every day things that came up to be dealt with or not. I previously read Escandón's Gonzalez & Daughter Trucking Co. and fell in love with her storytelling. She did not disappoint with this one either. I was totally immersed in the story and in the character's lives. I loved the slow pace of this one because it allowed me to get to know each character individually.

I've seen some reviews where people said this one tackled too much but I think that was part of the beauty of the story for me. Latinx families are complicated, issues come up all the time, disasters happen repeatedly and they're expected to tackle all of these things while still being pressured to assimilate to American ideals. One of the things I appreciated about this book was its' ability to show each character's struggles in the greater context of what is happening in the world and while navigating Latinx identity. Latinx people, historically don't just get to "be". They're constantly being brought to the brink and have to figure things out for their families. This was the main strength of the story in showing the ways that families have to sacrifice and solve problems on their own and sustain themselves on love alone.

Family love is the backbone of this story. Love is what motivates them to tackle the next thing that comes along to try to break them. The Alvarados show that with each other, they can take on anything that comes their way. They also show that life is a process of constant change and transformation and how important a support system is through it all. The ending left me hopeful and felt realistic because things don't just stop happening just because you've overcome some problems.

Final Thoughts on this one:
1. Climate change is real and affects marginalized communities the most, especially undocumented farm workers.
2. Divorce is sometimes the only option.
3. Being a child of immigrants comes with a lot of pressure and responsibilities.
4. Queer kids thrive and flourish with family support.
5. Pursuing the American Dream because our ancestors couldn't can create situations where one is perpetrating on harm on their own people.
6. Secrets in families can tear them apart.
7. Chronic illness and near death experiences can shift the trajectory of your life and bring new focus.
8. Marraige is hard, takes work and isn't for everybody.
9. Communication is key for all types of relationships.
10. Leaning on others is hard but the rewards are everything.
11. Normalize mental health and trauma and the ways it shows up later in life.
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LibraryThing member eas7788
This sounds like the perfect book for me: big family drama, three sisters, a Californian mix of cultures. But the characters are paper-thin and the plot is not a plot--it's a series of events with few causal connections. I saw on Goodreads that many people liked it and I know she is a successful
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writer, so maybe other books of hers are good. I also saw many readers had the same problems I had and that maybe she had based it on a telenovela. There were short, unnecessary scenes. Exposition-laden dialogue. Obvious epiphanies. Plot lines that went nowhere. Inconsistencies. Implausibilities. I had it on 1.6x speed most of the time so I could get through it because i wanted it to get better. I gave it a tiny boost for describing setting well and having good intentions, but oh my.
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