Tell Me Something True: A Novel by Leila Cobo

Tell Me Something True: A Novel
Leila Cobo
Grand Central Publishing (2009)
ISBN 9780446519366
Reviewed by Tracey Rock for Reader Views (03/10)


Gabriella Richard, 21, lives with her father in Hollywood, California and travels every year for one month to Cali, Columbia to visit her grandparents and the grave of her mother, Helena, who died tragically in an airplane crash when Gabriella was young.  Gabriella’s memories of her mother, and her loving relationship with her father, have always been pleasant.  No one has told her differently — until one day, Gabriella finds her mother’s diary.  What was meant to initially be the chronicles of Gabriella’s life in the eyes of her mother soon change to provide an outlet for her mother’s thoughts about the relationship she was having with another man before her death.  Gabriella is now faced with not only questioning who her mother really was but also the thought that her mother could have been planning to leave her and her father.   Now angry and resentful, Gabrielle goes on a quest to try to uncover the truth about her mother.  Through Gabriella’s search, she meets and falls in love with Angel Silva, music producer and son of one of Columbia’s leading drug cartels.  Being with Angel, Gabriella learns to understand the bond between a parent and child and as their relationship progresses, her own understanding of her relationship with her mother unfolds to an awakening of truths that she could only realize through her own experiences of love and heartache.

Leila Cobo’s “Tell Me Something True” is written in alternating chapters delineating Gabriella’s trip to Cali and the discovery of her mother’s diary and through her mother Helena, as written in her diary, of her feelings of her family and her lover. The story is about expectations, promises, choices and the passion for doing what you want despite what is expected of you – especially society’s expectations.  The story also explores the intricacies of the mother-daughter relationship and of how a daughter comes to terms with her mother’s death before their relationship could be formed.  The description that the author provides of Columbian life allows the reader to understand the characters and feel the impact a culture can also have on the people. Once you begin reading this book, you are drawn in to the culture and the characters as if you were there.  While you, as the reader, know that her mother died from the very beginning of the story, it is fascinating how her words are intertwined into the story and ties you to the very end.

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