Book review: Historias, by Carlos T. Mock

Mock HistoriasMock, Carlos T. Historias. Floricanto Press, 2014. 94p. PB. $13.99 9781499582642.

This is a charming collection of reminiscences about the author growing up in Puerto Rico, slowly discovering that he is gay, escaping to college at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, a residency in a Chicago public hospital after medical school back in San Juan, then private practice in the suburbs of Chicago. He finally comes out to his family with a mass letter to everyone from Chicago, with negative results.

In addition to the stories (Spanish: Historias) there are poems and lots of quotes from notable persons. It reads like a memoir of his life, but in his opening note, Mock confesses: “Most of the events I describe happened only in my imagination. The ones that did happen, were altered so they read better. Bill my partner says, ‘There is reality, there is fantasy and then, there’s Carlos’ reality.’ My reality lies somewhere between the way things happened and the way I wish they would have happened.”

Some of the stories can be a little confusing with so many people to keep track of and so many names. But overall, this is a fun and entertaining read. This is not a continuous autobiography, so there are a few skips and gaps without explanation. In his coming out letter, he had just bought an apartment with his partner Brian, but by the end of the stories he was with Bill. No details, but then, this happens to a lot of us.

Mock became quite a gay activist in the Chicago area. He was inducted into the Chicago Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame on October 18, 2007. Libraries and individuals who are interested in gay lives and gay writing, especially by Latinos, will want this book.

James Doig Anderson
Professor Emeritus of Library and Information Science, Rutgers University

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