What might be just a run-of-the-mill Tuesday for everybody else, is a very special day of remembrance for Latinos. March 31st, 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic death of beloved Tejano music star, Selena Quintanilla, who was shot down in a Days Inn parking lot by the manager of her fan club.
While most maybe familiar with Selena’s story thanks to the 1997 biopic “Selena” starring Jennifer Lopez, which is by the way the ninth highest-grossing musical biopic of all time, others feel there’s more to the story of Selena’s life and the events that led to her ill-fated murder.
These three books have been the most talked about and controversial ones released about Selena, who was 23 years old at the time of her death:
1. Selena’s Secret: The Revealing Story behind her tragic death by television journalist, Maria Celeste Arraras
Maria Celeste Arraras, who at the time of Selena’s murder anchored Univision’s “Primer Impacto” and was one of the first journalists to break the news, led her own investigation in search of answers as to why the star had been gunned down. For months she visited Selena’s murderer, Yolanda Saldivar, in jail and interviewed her extensively about the events that led to the tragedy.
Selena’s Secret was first released in 1997 to mixed reviews. The book alluded to the possibility that Selena was having an extramarital affair and that she was unhappy about her career because of surmounting pressure from Abraham Quintanilla, who was her father and manager.
The book points toward a suitcase full of clothes, a passport, and the infamous and treasured egg ring, as indications of the alleged affair with a man known as Dr. Ricardo Martinez, who in 2012 gave an on-air interview saying that he had been the slain singer’s lover.
Not surprisingly, the book was not well received by Selena Quintanilla’s family, her father Abraham Quintanilla was vocal about his displeasure with its publishing. According to a Huffington Post story, he said he believed Arraras was trying to slander his daughter and was siding with Yolanda Saldivar.
The book was re-released this year in commemoration of the 20th-anniversary of Selena’s death. It has a new prologue and epilogue, is available in English and Spanish as an ebook and traces the lives of all the protagonists of the story to current dates, exploring how Selena’s death changed their lives forever.
2. To Selena, With Love by her widower, Chris Perez
Selena Quintanilla’s husband Chris Perez was reluctant to talk about his love for and relationship with Selena for a long time after her death. However, in 2012 he boldly penned “To Selena, With Love”. The book is said to be profoundly personal and to offer a different side of the singer not known to the masses.
When he was interviewed by CNN about the book, Perez said: “I though enough time had passed and was comfortable putting some of the stories and memories that I had of Selena to paper….She was everywhere after she passed away, she was all over the TV and then there was the trial but the memories I had were my own. I was very protective of those. With this book I was able to show her in a different light, the woman off the stage.”
To Selena, With Love has been overwhelmingly accepted by fans and Perez says he’s been shocked by their outpouring of love and support.
3. Selena: Su Vida despues de su muerte, Selena: her life after death by Cristina Castrellon, who claims to have been close to the star
This book published in 2010 is said to “reveal Selena’s messages after death”. Castrellon, who claimed she set out to display intimate details of the singer’s life, collaborated closely with a psychic in an effort to decipher the messages that Selena “sent” to her loved ones after her departure from this world.
A Latin Gossip write-up about the book stated: “The book presents all of the psychic’s revelations, including six messages to Selena’s closest friends and loved ones,” and labeled its release on the 15th year anniversary of her death as “smart and shameless marketing”.
Have you read any of these books about Selena? Why do you think the circumstances surrounding the Queen of Tejano music are still so fascinating 20 years later?