By: José Humphreys
The Flavor of Our Faith by Karen Valentin, is a series of inspirational reflections, and cuentos (stories) about the experience of growing up Puerto Rican and Christian in New York. With humor and wit, the book recounts an array of childhood experiences that many Latinos and non-Latinos, from a "traditional" background can relate to. One chapter in particular was titled, "Nuyorican Spanish", the story of her Puerto Rican born parents speaking to her strictly in English, for fear she would not grasp the language. This is the experience of many second generation Hispanics who in their quest to re-learn the Spanish language, wrestle through "Spanglish." There was also a story about her pilgrimage to Puerto Rico, titled "Island of Coffee and Milk", where she traveled and found herself bored and uninspired, only to return later and appreciate her heritage all the more. Though from a Puerto Rican perspective, Karen Valentin relates stories about other Latino experiences she is familiar with, touching on themes like immigration and the negative affects of legalism on our Christian identity.
The Flavor of Our Faith is an inspiring intersection between Hispanic faith and culture. I felt a sense of fellowship and familiarity with the experiences as they were re-told. It’s one of those books I envision people of any culture huddling around, as they reminisce over their mix of cultural and religious experiences, while finding a sense of comfort with the turn of each page.