Chicaspotting by Joe Bovino

A few weeks ago, author Joe Bovino wanted me to review his book Chicaspotting, which as its name would imply is a pick-up guide specifically for you, the reader, to pick up women of the Latin persuasion. While such women are not what I’ve specifically targeted in my life, I do have some “flags” from south of the border (more specifically, most of these are actually Caribbean, but a few were actually from Central/South America), so I decided to check it out.

A casual glance at the book’s Amazon page will show that it has decidedly mixed reviews. Much of the negative feedback is exactly what you would imagine it to be: Latin ladies voicing their disapproval towards this book, claiming that this tome is fetishizing and stereotyping them. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t say…yeah, it kind of is.

I hate to do anything that sides with the Social Justice crowd, and I also hate to say anything bad about a guy I genuinely respect but what can I say? It is stereotypical!

With THAT being said, I have repeatedly argued that stereotypes exist for a reason: they are to varying degrees accurate. So ignoring the reflexive outrage of las mujeres, let us analyze the book on its own merits.

The book gives brief profiles of an archetypical lady of each Hispanic culture, and some Americanized offshoots such as Nuyoricans. It is clear that a fair amount of research was done, and the cultures are also portrayed fairly accurately (at least in a broad sense, pun not intended).

This illustrates a problem that I feel is inherent with any book that posits to profile women of multiple nationalities—either you’ll be too broad, as Chicaspotting does (albeit not egregiously), or you’l be autistically minute and pedantic.

But having said this, Joe’s approach is clearly one that beckons the reader to go forth and seduce for himself. And with that mindset the book is pretty solid. The prose is quick, lively, and eminently readable, and the illustrations are easy on the eyes. All in all, while I definitely think that the advice given is a little too broad, it’s certainly not bad.

I personally am not one to fetishize any race or ethnicity, but as somebody who has on occasion shacked up with the chicas (and enjoyed the vast majority of said shackings up), I’d recommend this book so long as you don’t take it as gospel, and do take it with a few grains of salt. Hey, if it’ll take your mind off of equally stereotypical but infinitely worse writing about las mujeres, why not read it?

4/5 stars

Read it!