Score: 87/100 (8.7 out of 10)
Simply put, Trailer Trash Havana by Junio Carols is immensely FUN and hilarious. It is like an episode of The Simpsons or Carol Burnett Show, you're presented with these incredibly flawed but simultaneously endearing, lovable idiots who are constantly getting themselves into a pickle. We almost wonder if this kind of satirical humor was what Elizabeth Reinach had been going for with her series back in winter. It seems to be executed quite well here.
The title pretty much sets the tone for this book, not to say that the book itself is trashy, but the characters are—and we love this book for that reason! These characters are such goofballs, you can't help but read on to see what shenanigans they'll get themselves into.
What's a little strange is that despite this overall really goofy ensemble cast of characters, the main character (in our opinion), Willie, is actually a character with a really gritty, realistic, and serious plight. He is a gay young man living in what we presume to be a southern state, disowned by his father before his father's death and living a life on the edge. Willie wanted so badly to appease his father and society that he seriously tried dating an attractive woman, something which flopped (literally). Because of his struggles and his overall positive disposition, you can't help but sympathize with Willie. In a lot of ways, he is the most moral character. He's not out to get money, rip people off, live above his means, dodge ICE, get into scraps or squabbles (if he can help it), he's just out to find his soulmate and live a reasonably happy life. So, when he finally seems to find what he's been looking for, you can't help but be happy for him.
One of the other main characters is Lucinda, who some might argue is the central character of the book. Lucinda is introduced to us as a 59-year-old woman with a bar and a reputation—a reputation for being a desirable woman back in her day and being recognized by many in the community, especially lecherous men. Well, those glory days of being glamorous are winding down. She is married to Roberto, who realizes that Lucinda's 60th birthday is coming up, and plans a huge, happy surprise birthday party for her. Indeed, this birthday party is the centerpiece of the book and the source of much of our enjoyment.
There's also Harry and Lena, a goofy couple who seem to have been together for a long time and mostly tired of one another. Lena insists that Harry make her food or she won't eat unless he does it. Do you know someone like that?
Due to a string of internal and external circumstances—multiple conflicts coming to fruition at once—the birthday party is anything but happy and an enormous slapstick brawl ensues! And, my, is it glorious!
Something we really appreciated about this book was the humor. This book is immensely lewd and funny. For example, there are two side-characters named Elvira and Dicky. We hear that Elvira is a bit of a nymphomaniac and wants to know if Dicky will live up to his name. Elvira, it turns out, is one of those cat ladies who loves her cats. They are often called “pussies.” So, we get a lot of innuendos concerning them too. For example, when they move into a home together, it becomes their new “pussy heaven.” Elvira's breasts are described as being like “torpedoes” or “bazookas” and Dicky's eyes are said to pop out of his eyes when he sees them.
There's a scene when Lucinda is demanding that Roberto aggressively kick people out of her birthday party whom she doesn't like. She then says that he better do it or she'll “blame [him] for a long time.”
Yeah, this book is a lot of fun and will give you quite a few chuckles. What's a bit odd and simultaneously awesome about this book is that it does go back to a semi-serious story line involving Willie on a cruise ship with who we believe may be the new love of his life. What we're trying to say is... this book actually ends up being quite emotional, which is strange because it seemed clear throughout the rest of the book that we weren't supposed to take it seriously. That's like if you start tossing things on concrete before it hardens. We've been conditioned to not “care too much” and yet we're expected to care a lot by the end.
And that's ok, because we get it. We actually do. This book wasn't just about a bunch of stupid couples doing stupid things, it was about a bunch of people who—despite being rough around the edges—were still human and still loved (or lusted) after someone else. People need people. People need companionship, even people who seem like they have nothing else going for their lives. That's actually quite a powerful statement.
Check this book out on Amazon!