Title: Pig Park
Author: Claudia Guadalupe Martinez
Date: Cinco Puntos; 2014
Main Character: Masi Burciaga
Masi is a 15 year old growing up in an area outside Chicago known as Pig Park. This once thriving working class neighborhood is falling apart after losing its main source of income, the lard company that helped give the community its name. Masi is an only child and her friends in the neighborhood are much like an extended family to her. She’s in and out of their homes as much as she is her own.
Colonel Franco, an outsider, comes to the neighborhood with an elaborate plan to attract visitors and perhaps even new residents to the area and with seemingly nothing left to lose, the small community buys into his idea and everyone is put to work. Along with his plan comes the oh! so attractive Felix and Masi is crushing hard.
What a summer it is for Masi! To an outsider, it probably looks as if her world is crumbling with the neighborhood businesses failing and her parents relationship seeming to be a casualty as well. But when you’re a 15 year old in the midst of such turmoil, you find your own way to make sense of this new reality and, you grow up. If you pay attention, you learn lessons about remaining true to yourself along the way.
Martinez writes a very complex story in which her character, Masi, subtly faces difficult situations. Her growth is paced and honest.
Claudia Gaudelupe Martinez also wrote the well recieved The Smell of Old Lady Perfume (Cinco Puntos 2008).