In Lost and Found, Abel had worked tirelessly to earn respect in the courts, avoiding any semblance of a personal life to achieve his goals. Now, his personal and professional lives had collided and he found himself being rejected by the community that had previously supported and admired him.
About Lost and Found
When community leaders began to doubt Abel Mendoza, the law practice he had spent years building began to crumble. It was the 1960s and there was but a handful of Mexican lawyers in California. Abel had worked tirelessly to earn respect in the courts, avoiding any semblance of a personal life to achieve his goals. Now, his personal and professional lives had collided and he found himself being rejected by the community that had previously supported and admired him. His fears of inadequacy kindled, Abel began to question who he really was, what he did, and where he belonged. A desire to avoid these questions and the people who had provoked them sent this small-town lawyer on a trip to escape not only his community but his own self-doubts, and into a relationship that changed his life completely.
Lost and Found follows the story of Abel who has worked hard his whole life to be successful. He grows up in a time where people looked down on him (and others) due to him being Mexican. He puts himself through law school at night while teaching during the day in order to be successful. Once he becomes a lawyer, he learns quickly that he is not done fighting and that he will continue to have to fight for the respect and his position in his community.
Abel works hard defending criminals that are court appointed to him after he quickly learns that being Mexican puts him at a disadvantage – even in his own community. He works hard in this role – giving up countless hours and days to devote to his work and slowly he gains the respect of his community and peers. His mentor gives him just a few words of advice, and at the time Abel thinks nothing of them but he quickly learns how hard one can fall. It is when Abel is at the top of his game that he is delivered a blow that feels crippling and when he goes to recover, he makes a few more mistakes that leaves him spinning. He has to really examine himself, his life and where he is going on order to take his next steps forward.
Lost and Found is a well written novel from start to finish. I loved the buildup of the story as we learn about Abel, his journey to becoming a lawyer and how he works to build the trust in his community. He is devoted to his work, something not many people can understand nor appreciate. When all of this comes tumbling down, he is left to pick up the pieces – something we can all relate to at some point in our lives. I liked his story because all of us can relate to the self-doubts, a relationship or friendship that changes our lives and even a pivoting moment in our lives that causes us to step up and rebuild. I think we can all find pieces of ourselves in Abel’s story. You will enjoy every moment of this well thought out and written novel.
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About the Author
Ronald L. Ruiz is the author of a memoir and six previous novels. His novel Giuseppe Rocco (1998) received the national literary prize, 1998 Premio Aztlán Award, and his novel Life Long (2017) was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2017. His work has been compared to Richard Wright’s Native Son (Publisher’s Weekly, featured review) and his writing described as “frighteningly real” (New York Newsday). Ron was born and raised in Fresno, California, and educated at St. Mary’s College, University of California, Berkeley Law, and University of San Francisco School of Law. Ron practiced law for over 30 years in California, as a Deputy District Attorney, criminal defense attorney, and Deputy Public Defender. He was appointed to the California Agriculture Labor Relations Board by Governor Jerry Brown in 1974, and later served as the District Attorney of Santa Cruz County, California. Ron retired from criminal law and continues to write every day.
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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.