There are about seventy eight million baby boomers. At last count, there are also about eight million Latino baby boomers. This should mean there is a need for mature novelas for the maturing Latino audience. There are different ways to categorize the Latino population and according to statistics (see link below) it seems that most Latino baby boomers (LBBs) are relatively well off. When LBBs are categorized, there seems to be two demographics, non-citizens and those born in US territories that will be under considerable financial strain as they mobilize into retirement. I am an LBB amongst other things. What does that mean in terms of books? Of interest, of writing, of what literature likes and dislikes will make the choice in a book bought? Where will the LBB place their resources when it comes to reading? If someone is concerned about meeting basic housing costs, are they intent on buying paper backs or ereaders? Do they have a computer?
Mainstream bloggers post about boomer lit. When I googled Latino Boomer Literature all I came up with was “Boom in Latino literature.” Nice when I read about a “boom” but authors and readers differ by geographics, culture, education and, ahem, class. Additionally, when I go to mainstream book stores many of the Spanish books are translations from famous Anglo authors. I don’t mean that there shouldn’t be translations of Anglo author works but there are so many variables that can be discounted. There is a difference between transferability and generalizability and translated works might sorely miss the mark. Do readers even think about this? Are we so used to reading the experience of “other” that we don’t even realize it when a reference to an American song is made? How many of us had Salsa, merengues and boleros as our background music when growing up? How many Anglos have ever heard of Walter Mercado or Don Francisco? I want to read about them or other popular Latino culture figures next time I open a book. I may have to include them in my writing. This will ensure that I read about them as I revise, revise and revise.
As a child I read about Dick and Jane and never about Dora and Diego. Are other boomers wondering when their experiences are going to be published? I was fortunate to have my mother bring home Piri Thomas’ work. His stories of New York City, the subway experience and stories of racism and classism were elegantly told. His work lit a fire within me. What if she hadn’t? Where would I be as a Latina baby boomer looking for a book I could relate to as I peruse the shelves?
There are celebrated authors who have written about the experiences of South American characters, and ones from Spain, Nicaragua, and yes, Puerto Rico. I voraciously read books about North East urban Latinas and Latinos who have passed dewy eyed adolescence. I want to read the book about the character whose mother and father took a chance and traveled from Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic to the New World of church services on Sunday mornings and Orisha drummings in basements on Sunday afternoons. I want to read juicy stories about the ones who worked in factories and as cashiers and bookkeepers on the East Coast to make a difference in their families’ lives.
Latino baby boomers are me. I am them. Come on folks, share some titles here. We are on the lookout!
Here are a couple of interesting related articles: