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A Review of Raquel Reichard's Self-Care for Latinas

Book cover by Priscilla Yuen



As an avid reader of self-care books, I've often been disappointed by authors who give advice to the general woman reader because they disregard that culture, social difference, and lived experience matter in self-care. So, I was delighted to find Raquel Reichard's forthcoming book, Self-Care for Latinas (Adams Media/Simon & Schuster, Dec. 2023).

While most self-care books neglect history and glance over stressors like discrimination, Reichard focuses on the effects of colonialism and racialization—processes by which we Latinas are marginalized and made to feel inferior. For instance, Richard points out that we still earn much less than men and White women and that we've internalized dehumanizing stereotypes.


Reichard writes like the award-winning Latina journalist she is, offering more than 100 suggestions, each in a brief entry that reads like an article from Latina Magazine. She groups the entries into three sections: Mind, Body, and Spirit. In entries that suggest starting a face or hair care routine, for example, she endorses Latiné-owned brands such as Maude, Ceremonia, and Bomba Curls. Likewise, the online resources she offers are from Latiné entrepreneurs, including Adriene Mishler, a YouTuber and yoga instructor, and Adriana Alejandra Alejandre, founder of Latinx Therapy, a directory of Spanish-speaking therapists. In this, she follows her advice of supporting Latiné-owned businesses and entrepreneurs as a form of activism. This guidance is well taken as Latinas hold much purchasing power and influence.


Reichard sings the praises of Latiné culture, but she doesn't shy away from pointing out its ills. She tells Latinas to reject marianism, the traditional gender role that many are still expected to play. This core and valuable message comes loud and clear. Still, marianism hits us harder in our role as mothers, and the book could have included more mentions of the types of pressures Latina mothers experience.


The threads of advice that run through the book are three: Developing a strong ethnic identity, cultivating community (a support system), and embracing spirituality. This advice is right on the mark as all three protect Latinés against stress, which is related to most physical and mental problems. Reichard suggests many practical, doable strategies, such as journaling, dancing, doing a body scan, learning about ancestors, and excavating family history. At times, however, I wish the advice would have been more prescriptive, emphasizing the need for repetitive, consistent practices. For example, she tells us not to listen to our internal critic, but she doesn't say that doing this takes hard inner work and requires persistent practices like daily meditation.

She speaks directly to the reader lovingly, often addressing Latinas as hermana, mi vida, mi amor. And she makes herself vulnerable, especially in a letter to the reader after the introduction, where she tells us that she struggled with imposter syndrome when writing the book. She also acknowledges she writes from her experience as a cis, working-class, light-skinned Puerto Rican, and the cultural references in the text come primarily from her Puerto Rican background. Words like 'bochinche,' however, will not prevent Latina readers with other roots from understanding its information and advice.

The book reminds me of Sandra Hinojosa Ludwig's Chica, Why Not? How to Live with Intention and Manifest a Life That Loves You Back (Hay House, 2021). Richard's tone is more casual, and hers is a broader and less in-depth text. Still, it is an easy-to-read, short book that introduces Latinas to ideas they can dig deeper into later. Especially when reading other self-care, culturally responsive titles for Latinas that are coming out (finally!). This book is an empowering call to action for Latinas to transgress marianism with no guilt and begin to care for our whole selves.

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