These thirteen glimpses of life in El Bronx have the ethnic flavor and nostalgia but little of the resilience of Nilda (1973). In fact it's the smallest stories that ring true here: Hector faces the embarrassment of wearing his uncle's tacky, pointed-toe shoes (real ""mata-cucarachas"") to his high school graduation; a pet hen named Joncrofo (Joan Crawford) defeats Mrs. Fernandez' determination to turn her into a chicken dinner; Hannibal plots to win well-chaperoned Serafina by joining her ""aleluya"" church. The several longer stories tend to get mired in sentimentality--particularly the memoir of a friendship between feeble, lonely Mr. Mendelsohn and the Suarez family next door, and the drawn-out failure of a marriage between pregnant, teenage Alice and covertly homosexual Hector. Mohr is almost too good at zeroing in on touching incidents; the danger is that her El Bronx can be too early dismissed as quaint. But given their limited emotional range and narrow focus these will stand as grace notes, augmenting Nilda's more vital theme and spirit.