Bad habit A novel

Alana Portero

Book - 2024

Trapped in a working-class Madrid slum in the 1980s, a woman navigates the local party scene involving heroin and disco while searching for belonging in a potentially violent world where every choice can be fatal.

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FICTION/Portero Alana
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Transgender fiction
New York, NY : HarperVia, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers 2024.
Main Author
Alana Portero (author)
Other Authors
Mara Lethem (translator)
First Harpervia hardcover edition
Item Description
"Originally published as La mala costumbre in Spain in 2023 by Seix Barral."--Verso.
Physical Description
ix, 224 pages ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Raw, unapologetic, and ingenious in its expressions of pain, Bad Habit bravely bares the scars of being queer in an unaccepting society while illuminating unexpected pockets of hope and tenderness. In first-person narration combining ethereal lyricism with intimate confessions, Portero's protagonist, a trans woman, recounts her adolescence in a poverty-stricken, gender-prescriptive area of Madrid plagued with heroin addiction. An astute observer and visionary thinker, she penetrates scenes of domestic violence, transphobia, and sex work amongst other harsh realities, deconstructing the scripts of masculinity and femininity. Using references to historical or mythological feminine figures, like Lady Godiva, the narrator skillfully craves a dreamlike space to protect women--one that is juxtaposed against the book's blunt descriptions of gender-based violence. This contrast confronts both the lack of safe spaces for women and queer people and the torment caused by having to hide one's true self. Hidden within this heartrending story is the healing power of caregiving within women's circles, offering novel ways to consider feminine alliances, just as the narrator reclaims her identity as "every woman."

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.