Annie Mary Perez. Clay Hills and Mud Pies. ISBN 978-1481184809. $14.95.

Skeletons abound in this revealing but poignant biography recounting a Mexican American family’s one hundred year history in the United States. Three Memoirs in one, this San Diego Book Awards Finalist is rich with Mexican folklore and Americana. In Book One, which opens with a ghost story, the author describes her father’s life growing up motherless in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It includes early memories of sleeping in abandoned houses, working for his aunt, who was a bootlegger, riding the rails as a youth, serving in World War II, and finally, marrying her mother in February of 1946. In Book Two she describes her mother’s life growing up on a dairy farm in Mesilla, New Mexico during the Depression. It includes early memories of picking cotton as a child and the first of a series of prophetic dreams. It also includes stories of her grandmother’s encounter with the Twelve Apostles and her grandfather’s finding buried treasure. In Book Three, she describes her own life growing up in a Los Angeles barrio, early memories of domestic violence, her parents’ divorce, caring for her parents in their declining years, and ultimately, dealing with the loss. The book concludes with her father’s philosophies on youth and life. “Young people especially will benefit from this pleasant read. They will feel inspired to set their own goals.” Ambassador Julián Nava.
 
“In Clay Hills and Mud Pies Annie Pérez shares with us the history, stories and legends of an American family, spanning three generations in the 20th century. She takes us from cotton fields in New Mexico and Depression era CCC, WPA and the U.S. Army in wartime Burma and India to Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s where two young sisters raised by a struggling single mother eventually find their way into California’s universities. A story of one family that is also part of the story of a nation.” Elliot Kanter, U.S. History Librarian (retired), UC San Diego. 
 
Annie Mary Pérez was born in Los Angeles and earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Science at California State University, Los Angeles. She currently lives in a beachside community in Southern California and works as a professional writer and editor. She travels extensively and volunteers for Latino Literacy Now, a non-profit organization that promotes literacy in the Latino community.