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Book Public: Angie Cruz's novel is a poignant portrait of a strong immigrant woman

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Angie Cruz

The title of Angie Cruz's latest novel, How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water, refers to an expression in Spanish, "No to ahogas en un vaso de agua."

Don't drown in a glass of water. That is, your troubles are not an ocean, they are a glass of water. You can handle this. You can survive it.

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But when things are as bad as they've ever been for protagonist Cara Romero, it's hard to imagine that she — in her mid-50s — can survive the loss of her job at a factory during the Great Recession of 2008 on top of the rest of woes and stressors.

She has 12 standing appointments with a job counselor and begins to narrate the story of her life.

We learn about her love affairs, friendships, family, her observations about gentrification and her stories about her estranged son.

Through it all she keeps her head above water.

Yvette Benavides can be reached at bookpublic@tpr.org.