Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories
Coming from Jaded Ibis Press in fall 2020
Set in California in the 1960s and ’70s, Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories takes Angie year by thorny year from kindergarten through high school, offering an often humorous, sometimes biting, but always compassionate portrait of the artist as a shy, awkward Mexican-American girl.
Taking place against the backdrop of the Cold War and civil rights eras—the Cuban missile crisis, the Watts riots, Beatlemania, the Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics—Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories also surveys the milestones of American girlhood. We see Brownies, slumber parties, training bras, cheerleader tryouts, and proms through the eyes of “brown, skinny, and bespectacled” Angie who soon learns that pageant winners, cheerleaders, and the Juliets in school plays are always white, and that big vocabularies are useless in navigating cliques and clubs.
Relegated to the social fringes at school, Angie nevertheless resists internalizing societal messages about who is beautiful, important, and valid. When a white classmate is cast as Juliet in the school play, she can’t resist taunting Angie with “Don’t forget who the heroine of this play is,” to which Angie replies: “She dies in the end.”
Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories traces Angie’s formation as a writer, from the child who jots down new words she learns in a notebook to the emboldened high school student determinedly and almost self-destructively publishing unpopular opinions in her new “loud-enough-to-be-heard” voice.
It’s been a long time since I’ve fallen in love with a character as deeply as I fell for Living Color’s Angie Rubio. Donna Miscolta writes gorgeous, luminous sentences, at turns funny and heartbreaking, searing and wise, and—through the observations of one smart, shy, awesome young girl—she deftly exposes the casual and systemic racism of the 1960s and 70s. This is fiction at its very best: intimate, universal, historical, and relevant as hell to our current era. Angie Rubio is my new favorite protagonist; prepare for her to steal your heart.
—Sharma Shields, author of The Cassandra
We have all been Angie Rubio, voiceless, rejected, but always on the precipice of being more. Throughout this endearing collection, you will become more than a reader, you will become Angie’s champion until the world she inhabits catches up. Miscolta writes with heart for all the brown girls who feel invisible. These stories say with love and sincerity: I see you.
—Ivelisse Rodriguez, author of Love War Stories
Donna Miscolta has written a captivating short story collection on identity, alienation, belonging and the meaning of friendship and family. Miscolta carefully and delicately layers the moments and memories that go into making a life and a person. Angie Rubio will carve a space in your heart and, long after you’ve turned the last page, you’ll be rooting for her, for all the Angie Rubios out there.
—Soniah Kamal, author of Unmarriageable
Angie Rubio shows us how to survive as a smart girl-of-color in a world gone mad during the 1960s. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be glad the selfie had not yet been invented.
—Kathleen Alcalá, author of Spirits of the Ordinary
With the stories collected in Living Color, Donna Miscolta takes care to depict the inner life of Angie Rubio as full of hope and torment, insight and silence, rebellion and resignation. When does society seed self-effacement into the body of a young brown girl? By what means can she uproot that invasive shame? With patient tenderness, Miscolta traces Rubio’s gradual awakening, providing readers an empathetic map for recognizing their own complicity.
—Kristen Millares Young, author of Subduction
Miscolta has focused her attention on a girl in search of a life that seems out of reach. As Angie Rubio comes of age in the 1960s, she experiences racial microaggressions on top of the usual confounding moments of dislocation and otherness that comes with growing up. You will root for Angie as you come to know her through these immersive stories.
—Grace Talusan, author of The Body Papers
I loved this novel-in-stories, and I adored Angie Rubio. It was a pure delight to watch her grow from kindergartner to high school senior. Sometimes wincing, sometimes smiling, I relived—through Angie’s experiences—some of my own at those same ages.
—Nancy Pearl, author of George and Lizzie
Ravishly featured the cover reveal for Living Color with this self-interview on February 24, 2020.