Rosa of the Wild Grass: The Story of a Nicaraguan Family.

AuthorZentella, Yoly
PositionLATIN AMERICA - Book review

MacIntosh, Fiona. Rosa of the Wild Grass: The Story of a Nicaraguan Family. Shropshire, UK: Practical Action Publishing, 2016.

There is yin and yang in historical writing. Official histories are usually written by the victors, while grassroots histories telling the story of the subaltern are most often written by the defiant victim. The need for grassroots narratives lies in the idea that if they are not written, the masses will remain voiceless and invisible, which would be a tragedy, since to know an individual's story is to taste life from the bottom up and across political eras. One reason that autobiographies and memoirs such as the Autobiography of Malcolm X and J, Rigo-berta Menchu enjoy such immense popularity is that they tell the stories of how the narrator became politicized and what his or her hopes, dreams, and fears were. Another reason is that the experiences of subalterns mirror what many may have contemplated or experienced in some form. The images in the mirror serve as food for thought and encourage activism and expressions of solidarity.

Rosa of the Wild Grass: The Story of a Nicaraguan Family is a grassroots history of Nicaragua told through the eyes of three generations of mujeres Nicaraguenses (Nicaraguan women). Their experiences of joy, disappointment, and growth are told across a span of time that included the dictatorship of the Somoza family and the Sandinista Revolution. The personal and political challenges of these times were topics of conversation between the author and Rosa, Rosa's daughter Angelica, Rosa's mother Maria, and various other members of Rosa's family. These conversations spanned three decades, from the early 1980s to 2013.

Written in a documentary-like and very readable style, Rosa of the Wild Grass will appeal to a broad audience that includes high school and college students, readers interested in the history of Central America and gender issues, and researchers searching for first-person data. In seven chapters embellished with beautiful, sometimes haunting black-and-white illustrations by the author, MacIntosh interweaves Rosa's personal life with political events that shape and transform Rosa over decades. As the chapters progress, Rosa is a woman experiencing and coping with machismo, sexism, love, children, family conflict, and domestic work. She observes the changing times as she becomes a woman of the...

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