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Bad Girls (2019)

by Camila Sosa Villada

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1885147,865 (4.19)None
"Gritty and unflinching, yet also tender, fantastical, and funny, a trans woman's coming-of-age tale about finding a community among fellow outcasts. Born in the small Argentine town of Mina Clavero, Camila is designated male but begins to identify from an early age as a girl. She is well aware that she's different from other children and reacts to her oppressive, poverty-stricken home life, with a cowed mother and abusive, alcoholic father, by acting out-with swift consequences. Deeply intelligent, she eventually leaves for the city to attend university, slipping into prostitution to make ends meet. And in Sarmiento Park, in the heart of Córdoba, she discovers the strange, wonderful world of the trans sex workers who dwell there. Taken under the wing of Auntie Encarna, the 178-year-old eternal whose house shelters this unconventional extended family, Camila becomes a part of their stories-of a Headless Man who fled his country's wars, a mute young woman who transforms into a bird, an abandoned baby boy who brings a twinkle to your eye. Camila Sosa Villada's extraordinary first novel is a rich, nuanced portrait of a marginalized community: their romantic relationships, friendships and squabbles, difficulties at work, aspirations and disappointments. It bears witness to these lives constantly haunted by the specter of death-by disease or more violent means at the hands of customers, boyfriends, or the police-yet full of passion, empathy, and insight"--… (more)
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English (3)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (5)
Showing 3 of 3
2022. A novel about many sex workers living in Córdoba, Argentina. It’s a hard life facing hate, violence, and AIDS. Beautifully told, with a travesti mythology all its own. ( )
  kylekatz | Mar 9, 2023 |
"Death was a concept I couldn't get my head around. All I knew was hot to get through the day and avoid the dangers that stalked me at every turn. I didn't yet know that death had been with me since I was born, that she had my name tattooed on her forehead, that she holds my hand at night, sits down to eat with me, that we breathe in unison".

Bad Girls by Camila Sosa Villada is a coming of age, translated work about travesti sex workers in Argentina. The author includes a note as to why they choose to identify as travestis and why language is important in claiming their own narrative.

This story was heartbreaking and compelling. It really brings to light the importance of community in the trans world for survival. Society asks them to continually die to themselves in order to be worthy of being loved and accepted. They are met with unspeakable violence if they live as their authentic selves.

The author uses visibility as an important theme to show the ways that trans women long to be fully seen in their humanity but at the same time have to stay hidden to avoid violence at the hands of men. This story also talks about the importance of owning their own bodies and what bodies society deems valuable and worthy of respect. Camila, the main protagonist speaks of the ways many transwomen struggle with acceptance and love because of the rejection of their parents that forced them onto the streets.

It was interesting to see how class affects who gets to come out, what economic opportunities are available and how privilege is traversed between worlds. The magical realism aspects added layers to the story and were a metaphor for the ways that some tranwomen literally transform because of the pain that they feel.

The aspect of community is at the core of this story. Being in relationship with others just like themselves is how transwoman form their identities, get the support & safety that they need and literally how they survive day to day. Society pushes this community to the outskirts of the margins and slowly kills them through medical discrimination, gentrification, criminalization & patriarchal violence.

The aspect of language is crucial to identity as well. It is one of the only things that allows them to not only identity themselves but to voice their stories to the world. Motherhood is explored in a nuanced way as you see their community mother tap in to her maternal instincts when she finds an abandoned baby and takes him in. They all play a part in mothering this child as the neighborhood rallies against them and hurls violence and threatens legal action. They cling to motherhood for their own survival and for the survival of their community. This an essential read and I highly recommend that you pick this one up. ( )
  Booklover217 | Jun 6, 2022 |
Las Malas va directo a la lista de los libros que más me gustaron en 2020.
Un libro sobre vivir contra corriente y sobrevivir; sobre el amor, la maternidad, la sororidad, el feminismo, la fidelidad a una misma, el ser mujer, la dignidad y la vergüenza, la libertad y la soledad.
Un libro duro -muy, muy duro- pero escrito con el alma, franco y desgarrador a ratos, poético todo el tiempo; alegre y profundamente doloroso.
Escrito desde las vivencias de primera mano de Camila Sosa Villada, sentí vergüenza por esa mayoría (principalmente esa que cree que puede imponer su moral u ocultar la doble mora), tan cruel e inhumana con las minorías tan únicas, valientes y luminosas. Le agradezco principalmente el realismo descarnado, que nos hace querer voltear para otro lado, al tiempo que queremos saber más de su mujer pájaro, los hombres sin cabeza, la hombre loba, la prostituta de 113 años o el niño oráculo y tantos milagros más. (A ratos me recuerda a un poco a Temporada de Huracanes de Fernanda Melchor, en dónde también cuenta algunas de las atrocidades del mundo, pero logran hacerlo con elegancia, belleza y hasta con ciertos toques de magia.)
Cuando terminé el libro, quería abrazar a Camila, no porque ella lo necesitara: porque lo necesitaba yo. Deseo que la magia de sus letras logre curar algo de las múltiples heridas de cada una de las Mujeres que, con sus altísimos tacones, cruzaron estas páginas, llenándolas de colores iridiscentes y brillantes. ( )
  GabbadelaMoraP | Apr 8, 2021 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Camila Sosa Villadaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Maude, KitTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maude, KitTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Gritty and unflinching, yet also tender, fantastical, and funny, a trans woman's coming-of-age tale about finding a community among fellow outcasts. Born in the small Argentine town of Mina Clavero, Camila is designated male but begins to identify from an early age as a girl. She is well aware that she's different from other children and reacts to her oppressive, poverty-stricken home life, with a cowed mother and abusive, alcoholic father, by acting out-with swift consequences. Deeply intelligent, she eventually leaves for the city to attend university, slipping into prostitution to make ends meet. And in Sarmiento Park, in the heart of Córdoba, she discovers the strange, wonderful world of the trans sex workers who dwell there. Taken under the wing of Auntie Encarna, the 178-year-old eternal whose house shelters this unconventional extended family, Camila becomes a part of their stories-of a Headless Man who fled his country's wars, a mute young woman who transforms into a bird, an abandoned baby boy who brings a twinkle to your eye. Camila Sosa Villada's extraordinary first novel is a rich, nuanced portrait of a marginalized community: their romantic relationships, friendships and squabbles, difficulties at work, aspirations and disappointments. It bears witness to these lives constantly haunted by the specter of death-by disease or more violent means at the hands of customers, boyfriends, or the police-yet full of passion, empathy, and insight"--

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