The Horse in the Kitchen: Stories of a Mexican-American Family

Written by Ralph M. Flores
Review by Adelaida Lower

Mr. Flores, a retired schoolteacher, grew up with the stories his father told him about his childhood in Mexico; they eventually inspired Flores to write this book, his first. In an absorbing style, the author guides the reader first into Mexico during the Revolution, then to the U.S., describing the journey of a fictitious family with care and affection. The settings—the towns of San Cristobal in Mexico and Douglas, Arizona.—are painted with attention, easing the reader into understanding a world gone by, shedding light both on the shortcomings and the qualities of these two towns and their inhabitants. His tales are enchanting, evocative, and humorous. Without sentimentalizing their plight, Mr. Flores explains the horrendous prejudice the family endures when the upheaval of the Mexican Revolution forces them to migrate. In their new country, the family struggles continuously. At one point, looking for work, parents and children are herded into a cattle pen with other Mexican emigrants. Mr. Flores writes: “There were men, ranchers and farmers, sitting on the top rails of the corrals or leaning against them, looking closely at all the people clustered in the pens, talking among themselves.” Yet Mr. Flores writes on in sorrow, not in anger, and his characters carry on with dignity.
I hope the editors of future editions will correct a number of misspellings that plague the text’s Spanish quotations. They are the only flaws in an otherwise lovely book.