I grew up in the Deep South during the civil rights movement so I am well acquainted with racism. Ms. Wetmore’s tale about a young Latino girl in Odessa, TX during the mid 70’s when oil was booming in the area exposes racism of another kind. Gloria Ramirez gets into the pickup of a young white man, Dale Strickland, on Saturday night, admittedly hoping to have some fun. He drives her out to an oil patch, rapes her and plans to frighten her into silence or kill her but she escapes by walking to a farmhouse while he is passed out in the truck. Gloria’s arrival at the farm of Mary Rose Whitehead creates a crisis within her family that spreads throughout the town. Mary Rose has a daughter already and is seven months pregnant. She takes Gloria in and hides her when she sees Dale’s pickup truck coming up the road. All this is a story in itself but what happens afterwards, Mary Rose’s terror that the same thing will happen to her own daughter, living out in the fields with her husband out tending their cattle for what is almost every waking moment, her move into town, the friends and enemies she makes as they await the trial. Gloria’s mother is deported before she is reunited with her daughter, and her Uncle Victor takes Gloria away from town to heal from her ordeal.
Good story, highly recommended.