Welcome to the Pig Park Blog Tour, another Diverse Book Tours presentation. Enjoy!
~About the Book~
by Claudia Guadalupe
Publisher: Cinco Punto Press
Genre: YA Contemporary
It's crazy. Fifteen year old Masi Burciaga hauls bricks to help build a giant pyramid in her neighborhood park. Her neighborhood is becoming more of ghost town each day since the lard company moved away. Even her school closed down. Her family's bakery and the other surviving businesses may soon follow. as a last resort, the neighborhood grown-ups enlist all the remaining able-bodied boys and girls in this scheme in hopes of luring visitors.
Maybe their neighbors will come back too. But something's not right about the entrepreneur behind it all. And then there's the new boy who came to help. The one with the softest of lips. Pig Park is a contemporary Faustian tale that forces us to look at the desperate lengths people will go to in the name of community--and maybe love.
~About the Author~
Claudia Guadalupe Martinez, author of the award-winning The Smell of Old Lady Perfume, has long been distressed about how the global economy is displacing workers and families. Claudia grew up in El Paso, Texas. She and her family now live in Chicago, Illinois.
I stuffed the letter from the bank back into the drawer and slipped into the kitchen to turn the vent out toward Pig Park. The smell of cinnamon and butter escaped into the street.
Living above Burciaga’s Bakery—and being a Burciaga—meant it was my job to keep the kitchen spotless and to do any other number of things from bringing in the mail to answering the phone.
I was sort of the Cinderella of crumbs—minus the ugly stepsisters and the singing mice.
The last thing we needed was mice.
“How are you doing over there, Masi?” my dad asked.
“All right,” I said.
I grabbed a crusty bowl, ran it under hot water and scrubbed hard, scratching at it like it had the kind of itch that requires a good dose of calamine lotion. I tried not to think about the letter.
It wasn’t so easy.
See, my dad started the bakery with nothing but an old box of recipes. He liked to say that the bakery, like most of Pig Park, sprouted in the boom and shadow
of the American Lard Company. The company had even donated land right in the middle of everything for the park our neighborhood was named after. That’s why our neighborhood got named Pig Park, because pig fat made lard and lard had more or less made our neighborhood.
As the company grew, so did we. Hundreds of company employees lived and worked here. They ate and shopped here. We baked twice a day just to keep up. That’s until the company closed down, and people left with the jobs.
“Economic downturn.” That’s how the big wigs at American Lard explained away how our good old Chicago neighborhood got left behind. My dad said that just meant they didn’t think they were making
enough money. So they packed up their jobs and took them some other place—like a whole other country.
Never mind the irony of American Lard made somewhere other than America.
I knew from that letter in that drawer that with no one to buy the bread, the bakery would close down
This is what else I knew: I’d lived in Pig Park my whole entire life. I still had a few friends left. So—even after everything—I couldn’t wrap my head around the bakery closing and us leaving also. It kept me up at night, wondering about tomorrow and the day after. Maybe I would never see my friends again. My family lived upstairs now. Maybe we’d end up homeless.
My dad was always saying not to think like that, to leave the worrying to him and my mom, but—I just couldn’t help it. I couldn’t help it about as much as I couldn’t help breathing or just being me.
My dad tied an apron around his waist, rolled his sleeves up and grabbed hold of the masa resting on the counter. Sweat dampened his shirt across his thick broad back. He pounded down on dough the color of dirt clay. “How about some music?”
“Like what?” I grabbed a dish towel and dried my hands.
I switched on the radio. My dad sang along to that old song, “Amorcitoooo Corazon.” I imagined
him making his way down a cobblestone road on a bike—balancing a big basket of freshly baked rolls on his head—belting out the song like in one of those old black and white movies they used to play in the park to bring the neighborhood together.