Although Mary R. Gutierrez has written most of her life, “Reflections of Love and Loathing” is her first published book. A retired Family Practice Physician, Gutierrez was born and raised in New Mexico, where she completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with honors, and graduated from the University of New Mexico medical school, before moving to Massachusetts to complete her residency and teach for a few years. A fan of literary books exploring families as well as the more abstract approach to human dynamics found in the fantasy and science fiction genres, her other interests include painting in watercolor and pastel, and learning to sing and play guitar. She lives currently in Denver with her cats, a chubby female, shorthair tortie rescue, and a red, short-haired tabby male, who adopted her.
“Reflections of Love and Loathing” takes place in New Mexico. Liliana, a brilliant young woman of combined Native American, Hispanic and Anglo heritage, lost her loving parents at the age of five and was consigned to the care of her abusive, alcoholic grandmother, Carla, in so doing sentencing her to the unwanted attentions of her serial-attacking paedophelic GREAT-grandfather, Joe, until the arrival of Terry:
‘Terry kicked the tire of his inert Chevy truck and groaned as the pain radiated from his toes up his leg. His expression of frustration was misspent on the uncaring truck. Intending to lean over the fender to glance at the engine again, he jumped when the hot metal burned his hands and nearly stumbled as his sore foot gave way. With a despairing look up, he counted a grand total of five small, fluffy, white clouds that mocked his frustration from the inverted bowl of cobalt blue sky.’
Liliana crosses the highway to come to Terry’s aid, and before long, the two are a couple, despite Terry’s extreme doubts after encountering Carla and Joe. Liliana drives Terry to his destination in Texas, just in time for all the worst family secrets to be exposed in the town she departed.
‘They found Jake standing by his car as he called the Navajo police force looking for someone who knew where Joe’s mother lived. He left a message then joined the others. “Lorraine Yazzie has been at the Grants police department since 2 AN drunk and hysterical. She’s demanding that Liliana be imprisoned immediately for the murder of her husband. They couldn’t reason with her and she wouldn’t leave so they arrested her for drunk and disorderly and put her in a cell to sleep it off. Well, she’s awake and the circus is on again. I’m glad I’m not the one who has to tell her what happened to her husband.”’
Liliana learns that Carla has accused her of killing Joe, and continues her flight in a state of panic, wrecking her truck in a deep arroyo and waking broken in the hospital. As she lies there convalescing, Terry learns of the perversions and misuse of power which maintained multigenerational sexual abuse, destroying the lives of three generations of women and dominating Liliana’s life under Carla as her child. Then begins Liliana’s true challenge. As her body heals, she will have to rise above the emotional damage wrought by Carla and the nightmare mirror image of Joe that tempts her to drive Terry away rather than face her fears and believe she is worthy of his love, which she sees as the most difficult challenge of all.
‘As the realization that she was free of Carla, the shame of incest, and the guilt of letting her grandmother die took hold, she saw a smoky, black spider web float away from her, dissipate and fade away in the bright sunlight. Her freed spirit turned toward the joyful life that awaited her.’