Updated: Feb 27
“Old would have been an inaccurate word to describe him. He was ancient, his face gouged with wrinkles, a few sparse hairs stubbornly attached to his skull. He was very pale too, like an underground creature. A slug, perhaps. His veins contrasted with his pallor, thin, spidery lines of purple and blue.”
"This house, she was sure, was haunted. She wasn't one for believing in things that go bump in the night either, but right that second she firmly felt every spook and demon and evil thing might be crawling about the earth, like in Catalina's stories."
I will admit, Mexican Gothic captured my attention because of the cover image I saw when it was available at Book of the Month. I repeatedly say I need to not select books based on their cover image, but I did exactly that. Again. Surprisingly, this is not a book I regret this time. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from every creepy aspect to the ending we were all hoping for. However, I will say this book is not suitable for everyone. As someone like me who gravitates towards the creepy and grossly scary, I was able to handle it even though this did push my buttons a lot on what I find disgusting. The writing by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is what kept me invested through the entire story. This is my first time reading her work, but I have plans to read more just from this book alone.
I actually finished this book a while back, but I was not certain how to even write this review without completely giving away the plot of the story. This is a book with a very slow build-up, but inquisitive minds will likely guess most of it. Although I easily guessed some of the plots, the writing and mystery still made this an intriguing book to read. So I give you my attempt at a non-spoiled book review.
Mexican Gothic is the newest book written by author Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This book tells the story of a young debutante woman named Noemi who leaves her world of cocktail parties and fancy gowns to help save her newlywed cousin from an unknown threat. Her father receives a concerning letter from her cousin and makes a deal with Noemi to check on the cousin in exchange for him to pay for her school bills. I think all women, particularly nerds can relate to Noemi in this portion. Her father doesn’t believe she can be both feminine and interested in learning, I believe we have a historic number of women who prove how inaccurate that is. Therefore, this instantly made me want to root for Noemi. We are living in a time where women can be both pretty, feminine, and smart. I enjoy makeup, hair, and reading, writing, and science. You do not have to be one or the other, and I love this book for pushing that narrative.
Throughout the book, as mentioned earlier, it is a slow build to what seems like your normal ghostly haunted house. However, as the build-up continues, you slowly start realizing it’s not what you originally think. For those of us who have the ability to go to those thoughts on our own, you might catch on to some things. Even so, you will not be fully prepared for what happens. For what is revealed. I thought I knew it all, but I really was not prepared for what happened and loved every minute of it.
I read an amazing review where someone described this book to be similar to H. P. Lovecraft mixed with Alfred Hitchcock. This is an absolutely perfect description of this book. It has all the classical scary moments, as well as a unique and horrifying modern twist. This book is terrifying, but not in the traditional way at all, and that is what I loved most about this book. Take away the phenomenal leading character and the incredible writing and you are still left with an amazing premise. The author took something that we have seen countless times and made it her own. I cannot wait to read her other books just to see what else she is capable of!
In many of my recent reads, I have not enjoyed the female characters. This is horrible because I am constantly looking for that new favorite female character. I have found one in Noemi; she is smart, cautious, loyal, and courageous. Her choices made sense to me, and there was never a moment where I got upset with her decisions. Not only was I a fan of her mindset, but I also liked she was realistic. There are some scenes that she is lured into a situation that made her vulnerable to certain people, but she does manage to fight through it and stay true to her beliefs. It’s never a bad thing to become vulnerable or have feelings you shouldn’t have, it’s only bad if you give in. Upon reading, you will instantly understand what I mean, and I ardently believe you’ll agree with me. This was a well-written character and she did a great job holding this tale together.
The trigger warnings to me aren’t extremely bad because the scenes do not delve into too much detail. It’s explained, but there isn’t an intensely elaborate scene that over explains these situations. The trigger warnings are incest, almost rape, and overall male creepiness. I don’t want to go into details because it would spoil the book, but I will promise it’s not as bad as some books I’ve read.
I don’t know what else to include; this was a great book all in all for me. It’s not for the faint of heart or easily disturbed. This book is entirely disgusting, but very well told. You will either love this book or be too creeped out. Either way, you can trust you will have a memorable reaction. You will not be bored at all!