I first saw Women with Big Eyes in the clearance section at a bookstore and confess I picked it up not because of the discounted price, but because of the interesting title and beautiful cover. This book is a wonderful collection of stories. Thirty-some tales of strong, sensual Mexican women who have something to learn and/or teach. There’s Aunt Christina who wasn’t pretty “but something about her slim legs and breathy voice made her interesting” Destined to be an old maid, a “leftover”, Christina marries Senor Arqueros, whom no one in her family has even met. She leaves her home to be his wife and returns home a year later, a widow, ironically, the independence of being a widow far surpassing the burden of being an old maid. Gossips said that her husband never existed but readers don’t know the truth, only suspecting Christina a lot smarter than she appears. Then there is Aunt Valeria who keeps her marriage happy by fantasizing about different men. Aunt Eugenia, who after giving birth in a hospital due to the untimely the death of her midwife, finds her husband much altered after encountering the female doctor Georgina. Upon his death some time later, she mourns with the woman who shared half of his heart. From breast cancer to infidelity to being kidnapped, these tales are sure to stir something in you.
I really enjoyed this collection of stories. I loved Mastretta’s word choice, the way she writes, her style. Some of the stories were short, only a page in length, others were longer but each had something in common- women with something special. Women with Big Eyes is a beautiful collection of the power of the feminine mind, heart and soul. Next time I pick up this book, it won’t be just because of the lovely cover but the lovely contents as well. 5 stars. If you enjoy short stories (and why wouldn’t you? They rock!) try this book, and see if it speaks to you as well.
Originally posted with Writers News Weekly in 2009. Revised and reposted in 2016.