Book Review: Have You Seen Marie? by Sandra Cisneros


“In Mexico they say when a person you love dies, a part of you dies with them.
But what they forget to mention is that a part of them is also born with you—
Not immediately, I’ve learned, but eventually, and gradually. It’s an opportunity to be reborn.”
– Sandra Cisneros

by Jasmine Colón

Have You Seen Marie? by Sandra CisnerosThere is no greater pain than losing someone you care about.  Whether it is the physical loss of a person or the loss of a relationship, that pain never quite heals and sometimes we are never the same person we once were.  Time moves on and in order to continue to move forward we learn that we must make peace with our loss.

In the book Have You Seen Marie?, we are invited into a look of the pain Cisneros’s experiences upon losing her mother.  Even though she is an adult, 53 years old, the loss of her mother is so great she feels alone and like an orphan “a glove left behind at the bus station.”  This loss does not allow her to see tomorrow because she cannot remove herself from the remorse of today.  During her grieving process, Cisneros receives company from her friend Rosalind aka “Roz” who brings along her cat Marie.  As the two women are rejoined, they find themselves without Marie. The story takes on a new sense of urgency as the two friends take to the streets to find the missing cat.

As the search for Marie ensues, we are introduced to the colorful experience and occupants of San Antonio.  Each of these introductions allows us to take part in the environment that exists to remind us that there is life all around us.  Cisneros’s feelings of being alone made her realize that she just met a community full of fascinating people with stories to share.

At less than 100 pages, Cisneros’s gift of storytelling and Ester Hernandez’s illustrations bring to life the story about death, grief, and the desire to move forward.  This book is a wonderful gift to share with someone who is experiencing the pain of losing a loved one.

Jasmine Colón grew up in the Central Valley of California where she suffered through hot summers and foggy winters.  Hiding from the local elements, she was often found in her school library with her nose in multiple books.  Exchanging extreme temperatures for a more mild setting she headed off to the beaches of Santa Cruz where she earned her B.A. in Literature from U.C. Santa Cruz.  Moving on to San Jose, she found a renewed love for libraries and earned her M.L.I.S. (Master of Library and Information Science) from SJSU.  Jasmine is employed as a part-time academic librarian and adjunct instructor at two Bay Area community colleges.  She is currently trying to beat her personal best of reading 95 books in one year.