Confession time: I judged a book by it's cover. Well, actually by it's title. Usually I am adamant about not doing that and rely instead on the synopsis. In this case, I was totally vindicated in my choice. This book has found its place on my top 100 list (still in progress).
As you know, if you have spent any time reading my reviews, I almost never include a run down of the plot. There are lots of places, on the web and off, that carry info as to the plot line of a book - my blog is for reviews. 'When the de la Cruz Family Danced' is going to be one of those exceptions because I feel like the blurb on the back of the book doesn't do the book justice.
Johnny de la Cruz is old and sick - maybe even in the process of dying, but before that happens he feels the need to reconnect with his family and come to terms with what his life has been.
Winston Pina is a young man and, with his mother's recent death and his father's not so recent abandonment, now an orphan. He finds a letter his mother had written to an old friend and never sent and decides to follow where it might lead. In the process he will redefine who he is and come to terms with his life, both with and without, his parents.
In the process of each finding their way through very different stages in their lives, the two men become integral parts of each other's journeys.
Donna Miscolta has written an amazing novel. It is rich with feeling and thought. I absolutely fell in love with Johnny. Although he was not an easy character to get to know, the process of getting to know him felt real and never like a chore. More like the process we all go through in getting to know a new friend. In fact, all of the characters were very real and acted true to their personalities throughout the story. This was one of those novels I ended up so totally immersed in, that when I had to put the book down, it would take me a minute to reorient myself to reality. I love it when that happens! I laughed out loud, I cried, I fell in love with this family and their friends. Truly a masterpiece.