To Selena, With Love
Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., June 15, 2012
To Selena, With Loveby Chris Perez
Celebra Hardcover, 294 pp., $24.95
Latin music shuddered and listed when Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was murdered in Corpus Christi on March 31, 1995. Almost 20 years later, the Tejano singer still occupies sanctified space in her fandom's collective heart – as evidenced by April's posthumous duets disc, Enamorada De Ti, which debuted at the top of Billboard's Latin Albums chart. Selena merchandise – from postage stamps to prepaid debit cards – still enjoys a brisk trade, and now Selena's widower, Chris Perez, adds his contribution to the ongoing beatification of the Lake Jackson-born pop princess. His is a memoir of their relationship, from the first blush of love to his wrenching final goodbye in the funeral home. And yet, Perez's authorial voice is so bland and utterly devoted in his adoration of Selena that he renders himself a cipher. What's more, Selena, as rendered by her husband – who has since won a Grammy, remarried, and divorced – seems flawless, never throwing tantrums, farting in bed, or consenting to a little premarital bidi bidi bom bom. The lacunae in Perez's personal story – he purposefully leaves out wide swaths of detail – serve as a beige counterpoint to Selena's everlasting sparkle. Everyone cares about Selena; where Perez stumbles is making the audience care about him.