Monday, July 22, 2013

Chuy Ramirez debuts La Jornada de Joaquin

Chuy Ramirez Debuts

La Jornada de Joaquin

(Mission, TEXAS) – La Jornada De Joaquin, by San Juan, Texas attorney and fiction writer, Chuy Ramirez, will be debuted to the Mission community at the Mission Speer Memorial Public Library on Thursday July 25th, 2013 at 6pm.   The library is located at 801 E. 12th Street in Mission.

The book signing will follow a presentation of excerpts Ramirez has selected to read. La Jornada De Joaquin” is a truly remarkable depiction of the 1950s and 1960s world of Mexican American farm workers, the setting for a novel which combines the coming of age for a young boy with a an intriguing mystery.

For those who are familiar with his book of short stories, Strawberry Fields, La Jornada de Joaquin drops many of the earlier vignettes and incorporates the trip to Michigan into a true novel.  A “jornada” is a journey and this journey takes place for the protagonist, Joaquin, both at a physical as well as a psychological level.

Ramirez himself grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, attended Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. He practices law in San Juan. For reviews of the book and more information on the author, or to purchase La Jornada De Joaquin, visit

Sunday, March 31, 2013



APRIL 11, 2013, THURSDAY, 3:30 – 10:00 PM


Literary Symposium

 3:30 – 5:15 PM   Panel Discussion + Q&A

6:15 – 6:45 PM   Casual Reception

6:45 – 9:00 PM   Short Readings (seven authors)

9:00 – 10:00 PM  Q&A + Book Signing

Nowhere is the world more connected, more complex, than in the borderlands. This multi-sponsor event highlights the international scene only three hours from San Marcos, Texas, and the Austin-San Antonio corridor—a landscape extremely relevant to students and these communities but often unexplored. Gathering together seven writers who can speak intimately of an area where two countries meet—geographically and culturally—creates the opportunity to highlight the complexities and contradictions of our global, interconnected world. Their stories foster understanding and appreciation for the uniqueness of South Texas, which reflects overlapping Mexican and American cultures, and for both of these cultures in their own right as well. Expected topics range from immigration to religion to economic realities, since these aspects of border life are woven into the fictional and nonfictional work of the participants. Audiences are invited to participate in these deeply important conversations. Books will be for sale during the afternoon event, the reception, and the book signing after the readings.

Texas State University will host “Border Writers / Escritores de le Frontera: A Literary Symposium” Thursday, April 11 in the Wittliff Collections on the seventh floor of the Alkek Library.

SPONSORS: This symposium is supported by a Global Odyssey Grant. Co-sponsors include both Kappa Delta Chi, a Latina sorority, and Omega Delta Phi, a multicultural fraternity, as well as Texas State’s English Department, College of Education, Modern Languages Department, College of Applied Arts, Center for the Study of the Southwest, Office of Equity and Access, History Department, College of Health Professions,  College of Liberal Arts, and Wittliff Collections.

PARTICIPANTS include authors who’ve been finalists for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Author, Chuy Ramirez is honored as a UTPA Alumni Pillar of Success

During Homecoming weekend the UTPA Alumni Association celebrated by putting together an evening to remember with past and present Broncs in attendance. Chuy Ramirez was pleasantly surprised and proud to be an honoree at the UTPA Alumni Ball on Friday, February 17th, 2012 where several Alumni were honored under the title of Pillars of Success.

The honorees were selected by the President’s Executive Committee from a list of nominees. The "Pillars of Success” exhibition will feature photos and success stories of the distinguished alumni and will be on display in the university’s Visitors Center for the next five years .

The Alumni Ball featured cocktails and dancing and the opportunity to reunite with other Alumni and friends. The elegant evening was held at the new UTPA Alumni Center on campus. Mr. Ramirez would like to thank the Association for this honor and looks forward to future UTPA Alumni Association events.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Holiday Season is here! ~BUY NOW~ Strawberry Fields for any book lover

Immediate Release
November 7th, 2011

Strawberry Fields, A book of short stories

(McAllen, TEXAS) –This holiday season make a smart buy. Pick up a Strawberry Fields for a loved one or a friend. 
A perfect gift for a book lover this holiday season Strawberry Fields is available in paperback or on kindle.

Strawberry Fields, A book of short stories tells a tale of three generations of a Mexican family as they make their way from Northern Mexico to South Texas,” says Ramirez. The book is written like a novel but readers can read chapters as independent vignettes.  The book is also a murder mystery. Most of the focus, though, is on that period in the 1960s when the “baby boomers” begin to come of age. Strawberry Fields is symbolic of both the strawberry fields in Michigan at which farm workers labored to improve their lot, as well as an abstract place that represents the dreams and ambitions of a young Joaquin, the protagonist.

Ramirez grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, attended Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. He practices law in McAllen and Strawberry Fields is his first fictional work.

For reviews of the book and more information on the author visit or The book is available for purchase at Barnes and Noble for order and in Kindle format and paperback at

The Examiner's Karen Tanguma reviews Strawberry Fields

Karen Tanguma of  San Antonio Literature Examiner, writes, “The intriguing novel, “Strawberry Fields,” features the migrant journeys, experiences, and memories of Joaquin (attorney), as an adolescent farm worker from South Texas. Similar to the migrant stories of Tomas Rivera, Chuy Ramirez entwines different aspects of Mexican American migrant history with a variety of fictional elements in the telling of his story. For instance, the author attempts to unravel the mystery of the strawberry fields’ murder by meticulously building suspense in the novel with a series of short stories.

The jingle “Grandfather tree, grandfather tree, why don’t you tell your secrets to me” foreshadows the mystery behind the murder of Joaquin’s first intimate acquaintance (a blond migrant girl) and Joaquin’s upcoming self-reflective journey toward transformation into mainstream society and enlightenment about his own identity. Through a hero’s quests, Joaquin (attorney) accepts the challenge to depart from his familiar surroundings of the courtroom and revisit (comes to terms with) the trials and tribulations of his past.

The author, Chuy Ramirez, ignites Joaquin’s passion to revisit his past and embrace his own heritage through his childhood memories, while creatively featuring them independently throughout the novel’s chapters. The novel opens with Joaquin nostalgically reflecting on his past (unsolved murder) and upcoming vacation (road trip) to Michigan and Indiana. In its entirety, the novel reveals pivotal moments of Joaquin’s life in short stories, such as his first communion, his experiences salvaging and riding a tricycle, and his non chalaunt attitude (unresolved issues) toward burying his estranged father. In closing, the novel maintains suspense with the unsolved murder mystery. So, stay tune for a possible sequel!

Like Tomas Rivera, Chuy Ramirez uses his experiences (field laborer) and his talents to honor the cultural heritage of Mexican American migrants and the American Dream with “Strawberry Fields.”
The author of “Strawberry Fields” Chuy Ramirez grew up in the city of San Juan in South Texas and is presently an attorney in McAllen Texas. He attended Pan American University in Edinburg Texas and the University Texas Law School, before settling in as a partner in the law firm of Ramirez & Guerrero.
ISBN: 978-0-615-32672-6

Susana De La Pena reviews Strawberry Fields, A book of short stories

I just finished reading Chuy Ramirez' Strawberry Fields. As a native Texan from the Rio Grande Valley,I can relate to much of what Ramirez remembers about this place and its past. I felt as if I, too--along with Ramirez' protagonist, Joaquin--had gone on a nostalgic, and ambiguous, journey back in time, and back in place.

I am so happy to find a book like this--written by someone of my own generation--that is written so well (even poetically at times), so tellingly, and with such accurate attention to detail and cultural truth, about this unique place and its own cosmos of humanity. Strawberry Fields is a delight to read because Ramirez grasps, and conveys, a masterful "ear" for the authentic, unique, and rich language of the people of this place; only a native South Texan, like Ramirez, who has long listened to the inhabitants of this place could have written this. Moreover, although my family did not migrate to the Midwest from South Texas as the family in Strawberry Fields does, reading this book took me on a journey, along with the main character (Joaquin) through the geographical and psychological/emotional terrain that can be said to be South Texas. Additionally, although I live in Southern California, now, Joaquin's journey took me back, personally, and I, too, as I read this, was reminded of much of my own growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, with the great spirit and sense of humor that people from here have.

The first couple of chapters, only, seemed a bit slow for me (but that could very well be my own fault/not that of the book). I didn't immediately care for the characters introduced (again, I may have been distracted while reading in the beginning)--but I stayed with it, and am glad that I did. Very soon the pace picks up and then it's hard to put the book down. His fascinating, recurring nightmare, and the haunting image of the "blonde girl" from his (Joaquin's) past, seduces one to the very end--to those very last pages when we discover the truth. Or think we do. There is much ambiguity in this novel-in-stories that is not only intriguing, but which also makes for such a rich story about a most complex time in our American histories (U.S. and Mexico). Ambiguity and ambivalence are key to the text, as we are led through some rather surreal dreams and scenes that would be a field day for any Jungian depth psychologist--leading us, together with the protagonist, to critically examine that which is true, imagined, or dreamt (both in the text, and perhaps even in our own memories ). The non-linear, circular structure of the narrative supports the weavings in and out of dream and reality, of past and present, that occur within Joaquin's consciousness and in this novel-in-stories.

Strawberry Fields is a mystery story. It is also indeed a journey on many levels--of both the internal and external landscapes. It is a psychological thriller, as well as a memoir (or autobiographical fiction) and bildungsroman/coming of age story. And it is both a nostalgic--and starkly illuminating--return to a way of life that is at once "the way it was, back then" and the way it very well is, still, for many. (Just like our memories, and our own demons, when finally faced head on/dealt with--by us, in our present--in other words....) The dramatic changes that do occur--especially within the protagonist--also reveal a truly American story. As we witness Joaquin's amazing rise from migrant worker to professional lawyer, we become aware of an America, and an American story, all too often relegated to the margins. Thank goodness that Chuy Ramirez gives voice to (and raises many questions about) this oftentimes inspiring, as well as problematic, American story.

One finds both the specific and the universal in Strawberry Fields--both the mythic, universal themes of father/son conflict, for example, as perceived through the lens of specificity that is the Rio Grande Valley, with its own particular cultural codes of conduct and manhood. It is a hero's quest, and a people's pilgrimage; it is the story of one individual's consciousness and journey towards awareness, as well as a collective migrants', and Mexican-American/Chicanos', tale. In this regard it reminds me of a sequel to, a more recent continuation of, the classic Tomas Rivera's And the Earth Did Not Devour Him/y no se lo trago la tierra (Rivera being another South Texan).

The journey upon which Chuy Ramirez takes his readers is well worth it. In the process of the reading, one might even discover one's self along the way. Enjoy the ride.

Susana de la Peña, Ph.D.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Picture in Pictures: Chuy Ramirez's Literary Portrait of Life in The Valley

A Picture in Pictures: Chuy Ramirez's Literary Portrait of Life in The Valley
Andres Aceves Reviews "Strawberry Fields"

The Texas Rio Grande Valley has long been a reservoir of cultural and artistic fertility. Caught in a limbo between two separate realities, The Valley embraces an identity of cultural sovereignty reflected in the region's language, music, food, and literature. A Valley resident and native son, Chuy Ramirez adds to the region's literary overture a book of impassioned scope: Strawberry Fields.

Technically labeled a book of short stories, the individual chapters of Strawberry Fields read more like vignettes (few exceed five pages) and the final product leaves the reader with a narrative cohesiveness more akin to the novel than the story collection. Though the stories span generations and meander along different points of view, the collection, in its entirety, assembles a mosaic of images that paint the very believable portrait of a family, region, and way of life. Indeed the narrative invites suspicions of "semi-autobiographical" writing, not because the protagonist, Joaquin, practices law like Ramirez, nor because of the migrant-living-on-the-border lifestyle shared between author and characters; rather, such suspicions arise from the tactile authenticity Ramirez infuses into his characters and settings.

One might say that mystery drives the narrative; the tension that keeps the reader engaged comes from a desire to figure out the unknowns Ramirez seamlessly introduces in the early stories. Joaquin is presented as a character anxious to accept--or, at the very least, to understand--his past, an anxiety his siblings don't seem to share. Thus, it is unclear to his siblings, as it is to the reader, precisely what he wishes to discover on the trip to Michigan upon which he seems so eager to embark. Through a disjointed and unsequential series of vividly rendered moments from Joaquin's history, the mysteries unfold and harmonize for the reader as they do for the character.

Some vignettes take place before Joaquin's birth, and they stagger in time and place (in one, the character buries his mother and learns of his estranged father's death, and in the next, a much younger Joaquin shares a breakfast with mom, dad, and siblings) but it seems the author intends this to be a statement that every person's story is inextricably linked to history, and that his or her identity is formed not by a series of causes and effects, but by a collection of moments. Ramirez's structure, then, is not simply an attempt to let every chapter exist as a self-contained short story. It is a reflection of the process through which we all make sense of our storied and chaotic personal histories.

-Andres Aceves

Welcome to the Chuy Ramirez Blog

Works of Fiction:

Strawberry Fields, A Book of Short Stories

Toy Soldiers-to be released

Joaquin's Journey-to be released


Altering the Policy of Neglect of Undocumented Immigration from South of the Border, Vol. 18 in 1983

Igualada: Exploring The Gloria Anzaldua Link Between Powerlessness and Chicano/a Self-Expression



Chuy Ramirez at STC Pecan Library Campus