Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories
Published by: Jaded Ibis Press
Release Date: September 21, 2020
Published by 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 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
“Read local in 2020 — look out for these 8 Washington-authored titles due out later this year,” by Chris Talbott, Seattle Times, August 29, 2020
"September 2020 Reads for the Rest of Us," by Karla Strand, Ms. Magazine, September 2, 2020
"20 New Fall Books From Latinx Writers," by Lola Méndez, Parade, September 10, 2020
“Perfect For Your Coffee Table or #Bookshelfie—Here Are 14 Fall Cover Designs We're Loving,” by Stephanie Elliot, Parade, October 2, 2020
“10 New Indie Books to Add to Your Book Stack,” by Stephanie Elliot, Frolic, October 7, 2020
“Undoing My Own Invisibility: In Celebration Of Filipino/a/x American Heritage Month” by Jasmine M. Pulido, South Seattle Emerald, October 30, 2020
“15 Books From Smaller Presses You Won’t Be Able to Put Down,” by Wendy J. Fox, BuzzFeed News, November 3, 2020
Cover reveal for Living Color and self-interview, Ravishly, February 24, 2020.
Plume: A Writer’s Companion interview, August 18, 2020.
Drunk on Ink interview by Soniah Kamal, September 8, 2020.
“My Imaginary Audience Was Me”: Q&A with Donna Miscolta, interview by Shoba Viswanathan, Bloom, September 15, 2020.
“Meet a Resident,” interview by Kait Heacock, Mineral School Blog, September 15, 2020
“Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb,” September 21, 2020
“From the Archives - Donna Miscolta (2018)” and “Mini Interview,” Crab Creek Review, September 21, 2020
“Authors Interviewing Characters: Donna Miscolta,” Women Writers, Women’s Books, September 22, 2020
“Interview with Donna Miscolta, Author of Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories,” Dead Darlings, September 22, 2020
“Interview of Donna Miscolta,” by Xánath Caraza, La Bloga, September 28, 2020
"TBR: Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories by Donna Miscolta," on Leslie Pietrzyk’s Work-in-Progress blog, September 28, 2020
“Seattle writer’s new book explores being young, brown and awkward,” by Agueda Pacheco Flores, Crosscut, October 7, 2020
“Interview with Donna Miscolta,” by Ann Beman, The Museum of Americana, October 20, 2020
Plume: A Writer's Podcast, Episode 5, with Melanie Unruh Rodriguez and Jennifer Simpson, August 31, 2020
Writer's Bone podcast with Daniel Ford, September 18, 2020.
The Other Stories, hosted by Ilana Masad, September 23, 2020
Authors of the Pacific Northwest, Episode 95, with Vikki J. Carter, October 12, 2020
SKYLIT: Donna Miscolta, “Living Color” w/Alex Espinoza, Skylight Books Podcast Series, October 19, 2020
"Donna Miscolta's Living Color is an intimate exploration of the intersectional identity of a young Mexican American girl, and the tensions between what she's been told is true and the truth itself." Latinos in Publishing, August 31, 2020.
"A memorable examination of becoming and belonging in America, Living Color chronicles coming of age in a season of unrest." Foreword Reviews, September/October 2020
"Together, the stories in Living Color vividly capture one young woman's challenging, yet ultimately rewarding, journey toward self-discovery." Small Press Picks, September 11, 2020
“You’ll have no doubt that this young character is en route to becoming a provocative writer like author Donna Miscolta, capable of sentences that bring light and color to subjects, to reflections, and to smart characters worthy of attention…”, Ann Beman, The Museum of Americana, October 20, 2020
"Each story in Living Color is as multilayered as a mille feuille pastry...," Alice Stephens, Washington Independent Review of Books, October 26, 2020
“…in this age where there’s a national reckoning with large-scale discrimination and attendant microaggressions along race, class, and gender lines, Miscolta illuminates those forces in her fierce, funny, humane rendering of Angie and her family…” Mary Lannon, Necessary Fiction, November 2, 2020
Book Launch: Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories, Hugo House, September 23, 2020
Hidden Timber Small Press Reading Series, hosted by Christ Craig, October 19, 2020
Launched: Kathleen Flenniken, Tiffany Midge, & Donna Miscolta, Seattle Arts and Lectures, October 14, 2020
Brown in America – Community, Culture, and Code, Malvern Books, November 10, 2020
It’s About Time Writers’ Reading Series, Living Color: Reading #372, November 12, 2020