For his novel, author Ronald L. Ruiz thanks various individuals such as Jay Amberg, who he says made the book possible, Amanda for her support, and Ren McClellan for his insight and encouragement. Jesusita tells the story of legal and illegal Mexican immigrants, with the lonely and impoverished titular protagonist struggling to care for her four children, The fifteen-year-old Sergio, the thirteen-year-old Yolanda, the eleven-year-old Paulina, and the three-year-old Concepcion, after her husband Rogelio dies in a truck accident the previous month, finding support from Father Montes at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church, although her face isn’t exactly essential in solving her clan’s problems.
Before the main text, Ruiz gives many historical notes, indicating that by 1975, the State of California had the eleventh-largest economy in the world, its chief industry of agriculture built upon the backs of both legal and illegal Mexican immigrants. Afterward he goes farther back in history to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, which granted citizenship to thousands of Southwestern Mexicans newly part of the United States. The author further adds that tens of thousands of Mexicans immigrated to America between 1850 and 1910, and although the Immigration Act of 1917 implemented immigration quotas, it exempted Mexicans, who would later labor by the millions during the Second World War, afterward finding better jobs in towns and cities and more being considered illegal then.
The forbiddance of Hispanics men from marrying Caucasian women plays some part in the chief narrative, beginning in October 1945 with Jesusita and her children working on a ranch near Fresno, California, her family having crossed into the country at Mexicali, and ultimately moving into the city proper for winter the same month, and dealing with various familial issues. The story is generally enjoyable, although there are many points where the author uses pronouns, even in the beginning of new chapters, without actually identifying whom exactly he’s talking about anywhere nearby, although this reviewer would most certainly recommend this story to those interested in history, chiefly focused on Hispanics.
After reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment at the age of 17, I knew I wanted to be a writer. But I knew nothing about the craft. My first novel, Happy Birthday Jesús, was published 36 years later. Surprisingly, it received good reviews
For many years, I was a criminal defense attorney and at the end of my career a prosecutor, but I always managed to find time to write. What I saw and experienced during those years often serves as a basis for my writing. For me, learning how to write has been a long, continuous and, at times, torturous process.
Now retired, I try to write every day and I feel fortunate that I have found something in writing that sustains me. I’m glad I persevered during all those years of rejection. More than anything, writing about what I see and experience in life has given me a sense of worth.