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by Chris Perez

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-451-41404-5
Publisher: Celebra/Penguin

The widower of murdered pop star Selena reveals poignant details of their short time together as a couple.

In the early 1990s, Selena Quintanilla shook up the world of Tejano, a hybrid of Mexican and American music, by fronting an energetic young band that included guitarist Chris Perez. Initially more interested in Selena’s strong voice and the band’s innovative take on tradition than in romance, Perez soon found himself falling head over heels for Selena. Perez portrays his girlfriend and eventual wife—they eloped in 1992 after growing weary of concealing their relationship from Selena’s overly protective father—as a spirited daredevil with a heart of gold. She was an animal lover, motorcycle enthusiast and emerging fashion designer whose religious beliefs grounded her within the chaotic music industry. Unfortunately, Selena’s trusting nature led her to welcome a dangerous woman, Yolanda Saldivar, into her inner circle. As Selena’s fan-club president and personal assistant, Saldivar soon proved to be unstable, manipulative and larcenous. Perez calls her a “cancer,” an epithet that would turn out to be tragically apt when Saldivar killed Selena in 1995, shooting her in the back and causing internal bleeding. Recounting the day that Selena died as well as the ensuing funeral, Perez captures these events in heartbreaking detail. At one point, he writes, he wanted nothing more than to crawl into the coffin with her and pull down the lid. Given Perez’s easygoing, confidential tone throughout the book, this image carries an emotional weight that it would not have had coming from a melodramatic storyteller. The ending of the book feels somewhat rushed, though, as Perez duly notes his descent into depression and substance abuse, his rebound and his eventual remarriage and fatherhood.

A straightforward but mostly moving valentine to young love that will appeal to romantics and fans of Latin music.