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To Selena, With LoveTo Selena, With Love by Chris Perez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was just beginning to learn Spanish in school when Selena was murdered back in 1995. I remembered hearing a story or two about “The Mexican Madonna” before her passing, but never heard her music. At the time, I didn’t know Spanish and just wasn’t interested. Then “I Could Fall in Love” and “Dreaming Of You” came out. Without knowing who it was, I instantly connected with the music and the voice coming over my radio. I was sad to discover that the same person singing was the one who I’d read about not long before as the details of her murder became national news.

Those two songs introduced me to Selena, the artist, and Spanish music. Since becoming a fan, I’ve seen the movie and read another bio about her, so much of what was contained in here was no surprise. What was interesting about it, though, was the outsider’s perspective. Chris Perez was an outsider in the Quintanilla family in many respects. He was not accepted by Abraham as a suitable boyfriend/husband for Selena until Selena and Chris decided to elope and force the issue of their relationship.

There were a couple of surprises. I had no idea, for example, that the rest of the Quintanilla family and the Dinos basically turned their backs on Chris at one point. They wanted to avoid dealing with Abraham’s temper as the relationship came to light despite the fact they’d been supportive beforehand. I was also surprised by the fact Selena herself had revealed Yolanda showed her a gun prior to that fateful meeting March 31st.

Overall, Chris Perez has written a moving and engaging account of his life with The Queen of Tejano music and the aftermath of her murder. You feel his emotions and I couldn’t help but smile as he shares a few details of his life now, having pulled himself out of a grief that looked as thought it may destroy him.

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