Mexican Gothic Review
Noemi Taboada is a socialite and debutante that enjoys parties and dreams of getting her masters in anthropology. In order to achieve her dream, she has to travel to a remote city to visit her recently married cousin. Her cousin sent a disturbing letter questioning her happiness and sanity and Noemi must find out about the truth. When Noemi arrives at the house, she starts to question her own insanity and who she is.
So this was such a creepy book. I am still reeling from the details of this book and probably will never recover.
The setting and the details of this book were amazing. The descriptions of the setting, the characters, the clothes, the plant life, the sights, the smells were wonderful. I could just picture everything that was described and I was so impressed. First of all, the house was just so shockingly creepy. Just an awful crumbling hell whole. Whenever the main character discussed the house, it was always adjectives that suggested it smelled and it was old. WHO WOULD WANT TO LIVE THERE!? I could not imagine having to stay at that house without going crazy. I honestly worry I will have nightmares about that house and I love it.
When I first started reading the book I was reminded of my favorite story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman called, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The way the Doyle family treated Catalina in the beginning reminded me of the characters in the short story and the house reminded me of the house the main character is stuck in. In the story, the main character is kept secluded in a house in the country due to her depression. In the story, Catalina is clearly suffering from psychological trauma, but the family denies it and blames it on tuberculosis. It was just as frustrating as the short story. I loved the connection between the two stories and made me really excited to keep reading.
The characters were also extremely complex and interesting. Noemi is presented as this flirt that doesn’t have a care in the world. However, as the story progresses we discover that she is an extremely intelligent and powerful woman. She would sprout random facts about paint colors or history and it would completely contradict the person she presents herself as. She also was constantly standing up for herself and those she thought she needed to no matter how scared or nervous she was. I also loved her sassy and snarky comes back when she spoke to Howard, Virgil, and Florence. I also loved the romance between Francis and Noemi. I thought it was extremely adorable and I was happy with their ending.
Howard was an extremely disturbing character. From the very beginning he was introduced, I hated him! When he said that Noemi was pretty despite her dark coloring, I wanted to hit him the face. He was the perfect example of white privilege and a greedy man that only wanted to take from others. His presence as an evil creature that infected and made others sick and zombie-like is definitely a metaphor for white privilege.
I honestly thought that Virgil was worse than Howard. I know it may sound a little crazy, but Virgil was aware of how cruel and crazy Howard was and he still forced Catalina to come to that hellhole and Noemi. He is such a creep and he had an overinflated masculinity that he thought he was god’s gift to women, especially when it considered Noemi’s affections.
The problems I had with the book were small, but sort of important to the overall plot. I just didn’t understand the part about Agnes and what the fungus actually was. I understood that the mushrooms were significant because of the fact that there were mushrooms everywhere, but I didn’t understand how it was in the walls and how Howard was infected with the virus and how he would inhabit a new body. I thought this was rushed in explanation at the very end and it was a little neglected. I also thought that Catalina didn’t appear enough in the story and was confused by the constant whiplash of her wanting to get out of the house and her denial that anything was wrong.
Overall, this was a thrilling read and I will never look at mushrooms the same again.
My Book Rating
4/5 Book World
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Published by Del Rey on June 30, 2020
Copy Read: Hardcover