Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: "Lone Star Legend" by Gwendolyn Zepeda

Dominga Saavedra, known to her readers as Sandy Saavedra, had a serious journalism career at “LatinoNow” located in Austin, Texas. She did investigative pieces and was good at it. While it was online journalism and as such frowned upon by some, her work could and did stand right up there with what was produced in the daily papers. Her overbearing mother drives her nuts, as does her absentee father, so she occasionally vents on a private and very personal blog that hardly anyone knows about. She also makes a comment now and then about her ultra-serious boyfriend, Daniel, a grad student that seems to have it all going for him as he is handsome, smart, and a published author.

Despite the hard work of all “LatinoNow” has failed and the new owners, Levy Media, have a far different agenda. The focus is on short blog posts, edgy in content that focus on entertaining readers with zingers instead of educating readers in a thoughtful way. Out are investigative pieces on issues and in is tabloid style reporting featuring snarky commentary. “Macho Papi” is the new face for her work online and her editor is the hard charging Angelica Villanueva O’Sullivan.

Dominga/Sandy could learn a lot about the business from Angelica. Angelica takes her under her wing and begins to remake her in every way possible. Her writing is the first thing to change but not the last as the job takes over her life. At the same time, the site finds an audience and begins to become a part of Levy Media’s reach into other formats. Success has a heavy price and one is not aware how much it will cost until the bills start coming due in Lone Star Legend.

Against the backdrop of the clash between old media and new media (a frequent theme of many novels these days) this very good novel is the tale is of relationships and remaining true to your inner beliefs despite the peer pressure of others and the twin seducers of money and fame. Written by the author of “Houston, We Have A Problema” among others the book features memorable real to life characters, plenty of angst and glitter, and an entertaining tale of survival despite everything. An enjoyable and thought provoking read on many levels, this is one Texas writer to keep an eye on.

Lone Star Legend: A Novel

Gwendolyn Zepeda

Grand Central Publishing

January 2010



340 Pages (includes reading group guide in English and Spanish and two page author bio)


Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2010

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