Friday, March 11, 2011

The Realm of Hungry Spirits-Lorraine Lopez

The Realm of Hungry Spirits
Lorraine Lopez
Grand Central, May 2 2011, $13.99
ISBN 9780446549639

Growing up in a devout fundamentalist household, thirtyish schoolteacher Marina Lucero has gone the complete opposite of her dogmatic parents as she has grave doubts about organized religion. Instead she turns to the Dalai Lama for spiritual enlightenment.

However, heeding to the Dalai’s code to care for the downtrodden proves difficult. The dependents at school, in the neighborhood and her family take their toll on her mental state. Her former boyfriend shows chutzpah when he arrives with his list after dumping her on Valentine’s Day. Her sister makes demands of her though offers nothing in return except more demands. Rudy's best friend, a Santeria priest, threatens to give her the evil eye if she fails to fill his order. As her life implodes and tragedies occur, Marina wonders what she did to deserve this; her self-deprecating answer is being the sucker Good Samaritan; so she knows it is time for no more Ms. nice guy as she needs to cleanse her soul.

This is an amusing dark lampooning of the Good Samaritan who tries to be there for everyone else, but has no time to take care of herself. This work is satirical as the support cast keeps making demands on the protagonist who fails to say no even to those who hurt or threaten her. Although the story line is too long as the demand and supply becomes too frequent, fans will enjoy this dark jocular satire as readers conclude that even the Dalai Lama would retire rather than deal with her demanding crowd.

Harriet Klausner

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