This novel was released almost exactly 10 years ago. I read it for the first time in 2009. I recently was referencing it in a conversation and decided to revisit it.
Sandra Cisneros' novel, Caramelo, grapples with the many societal and cultural rules imposed on the Reyes family. Most notable among these rules is sexuality. Each member of the Reyes family struggles with their sexuality and what is deemed "acceptable" by society's standards. Premarital sex, children born out of wedlock, unrequited love, and voyeuristic family members place the Reyes family in culturally unacceptable situations. Also, while almost every family member finds themselves in situations due to their sexuality, there is a clear gender divide as to how these situations are handled. Cisneros uses the Reyes family to exemplify the expectations of family and society. Men are not punished or held accountable for their actions but women must suffer the consequences for their sexuality in the Reyes family. Cisneros draws the reader's attention to the societal standards at the time of the story and illuminates the double standards that still exist.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012