By Glenda Oviedo
What if you are Anglo and your neighbor is Latino? Or what if it turns out you are dating a Latina or your boss is Latino?
Actor and 2008 "Dancing with the Stars" finalist, Cristian de la Fuente, found a hilarious way to tell America what they need to know about Latinos in his 2009 book Hot. Passionate. And Illegal?
de la Fuente, along with co-writer Federico Larino, reveal truths and myths about Latinos. They describe familiar situations with humor and candor that cover such issues as the importance of the family unit, food among Latinos, music, soap operas, celebrations, and just curious facts and statistics about Latinos.
If you are from Latin America this book will keep you laughing, but if you are Anglo you will probably need to read it twice to understand it. Cristian de la Fuente explains in four parts why we are so diverse. According to him, we not only react differently, but also think, talk, eat, and look at things in a singular way.
Similarly, de la Fuente make clear why some stereotypes do not apply to all Latinos and how an actor who does not dance was a finalist in the TV show "Dancing with the Stars" and decided to write about his experiences.
"When you are a Latino, you learn that "no" really means "keep trying," shares Cristian de la Fuente in his book.
de la Fuente, who began acting in Chile and moved to Los Angeles where he got his big Hollywood break and has starred in films and television shows, relates how Hollywood is one of the worst offenders in thinking that all Latinos are the same.
For example, once when he was working on a series and it was his birthday, the production crew sent a mariachi group to sing the traditional Mexican birthday song "Las Mañanitas." They didn't realize Chile doesn't have mariachi singers.
Cristian de la Fuente's personal pictures help illustrate the book and evoke special moments like his wedding, his participation in "Dancing with the Stars" and his days in Chile.
He reminds readers of the conflicting emotions of sorrow and joy that every Latino that emigrates to United States experiences. It's the pain of leaving behind loved ones while at the same time happy to be pursuing the American Dream.
Glenda Oviedo is a Miami-based Latina Lista contributor.