Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez read by Sol Madariaga
Fútbol is in Camila Hassan’s blood. As a young girl, she took the head off a doll and used it as a ball to practice her kicking technique. It’s more than a sport, it’s her passion. Her goal is to compete professionally. Camila knows that the best opportunity to play with a world-renowned team will require her to leave her native Argentina. The first member of her family to graduate from high school and to receive an English fluency certification, Camila wants to improve her chances of earning a spot on a professional team. She dreams of escaping the restrictive existence that she seems to be her destiny and creating a new life for herself. She will not be deterred, both on and off the pitch. Her teammates honor the fútbol-fueled fire that burns within her, naming her La Furia.
So, what’s holding her back? Her family. Her macho domineering father considers fútbol a man’s game and would never consent to permitting his daughter to compete in the sport. Her mother, cowed into silence by her controlling husband, submissively works as a seamstress, fashioning elegant gowns. She wants a better life for Camila and plans for her daughter to attend medical school.
Her life is further complicated when a childhood friend, now an international fútbol star, returns to Argentina for a brief visit. It is apparent to both that this is more than friendship. The attraction is mutual. Camila faces a heart wrenching dilemma. Does she abandon her dream of becoming a world class athlete and follow the guy who makes her heart sing? Or does she remain focused on her life-long ambition and reject his offer of a life together?
This story is about choices. Hard choices. Camila agonizes over her decisions, recognizing that with each choice, she may be closing a door. Will she choose to follow her passion for fútbol or succumb to her desire to be with the boy she loves? Can she stand up to her abusive father? Will she remain silent? Can she confide in her mother?
Narration moves fluidly between Spanish and English. Madariaga flawlessly differentiates the varying degrees of English fluency among her Spanish-speaking characters. Singing flows beautifully as a natural extension of the narration. The longing, indecision, frustration, and passion of an older teen is clearly evident in this performance.
The author obviously knows and loves the sport. The play by play descriptions bring readers onto the pitch, delivering immediacy and fierce intensity to the narrative. Méndez storytelling is a polished gem. Her characters are multifaceted. The narrative reveals their sparkling qualities as well as inherent flaws. Their lives are messy. There are no simple solutions. Things are not perfect. However, there is hope.
Furia is intense, filled with desires and dreams, heartache and disappointment, pain and passion. Camila is a girl of my heart.