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Carmen Aguirre
Mexican Hooker #1: And My Other Roles Since the Revolution


Book Cover From the bestselling author of Something Fierce, which won Canada Reads in 2012, comes a bold, entertaining and illuminating account of the many roles one woman has played in the run of her life.

“‘Why do you want to meet him?’ almost everyone asked. So I quoted Laura, one of the wisest, most articulate people I'd ever known. ‘Because I'd like to meet the man I've been in a relationship with for my entire life.’”

Carmen Aguirre has lived many lives, all of them to the full. At six-years-old she was a Chilean refugee adjusting to life as a Latino in North America. At seventeen she was a revolutionary dissident married to a generous-hearted man she couldn't fully love. In her early twenties she fought to find her voice as an actress and to break away from the stereotypes thrust upon her - Bad Taco Waitress, Second Maid, Mexican Hooker No.1 - all the while navigating the complex paths of lust and love with a series of dazzling, difficult men. These days, Carmen is a writer, a director, an actress and a mother, but alongside her many multi-faceted identities was another that was hard to embrace and impossible to escape; that of the thirteen-year-old girl attacked by one of Canada's most feared rapists. Thirty-three years after the assault, Carmen decided it was time to meet the man who changed her life.

Fierce, funny and enlightening, Carmen interweaves her account of overcoming the attack that shook her world with a host of stories of life and love. From her ill-advised marriage to a beautiful basketball player to the all-consuming days at drama school; from the end of the Chilean revolutionary dream to life among the Chicanos of Los Angeles; from the child who was made the victim of a terrible crime to the artist who found the courage to confront her assailant, Carmen tells a story of strength and survival that will leave you speechless.

Praise for Carmen Aguirre's Mexican Hooker #1:

“[N]othing short of astounding . . . . Vivid and poetic . . . Aguirre is a merciful dramatist at heart . . . Mexican Hooker #1 is more than brave—it is dauntless, and Aguirre’s telling of it, even in its devastating moments, accomplishes what she set out to do: integrate it all in order to bare her true self.”
National Post

“As the title suggests, the book is funny—in spite of the raw, horrific subject matter at its heart.” —The Globe and Mail 

“Never less than mesmerizing . . . Exposed to words like these, a reader can only marvel at human resilience while also gasping at the forms of our depravity.” —Maclean’s

“In her pursuit of art in the everyday, in Vancouver’s basement theatre scene though also her own marvellous writing so much in evidence here, Aguirre finds expression but also a way forward—examining her own behaviour ruthlessly, discovering kinship with First Nations, and using the sum of these experiences to transcend the violence of a rape that might have ruined any other child. This is extraordinary and, often unexpectedly, beautiful reading.” —Noah Richler, author of This Is My Country, What’s Yours? A Literary Atlas of Canada and What We Talk About When We Talk About War

Mexican Hooker #1 is open and raw, like Aguirre’s life. Once started, I could not put it down. . . . I admire her courage and vulnerability, and envy her ability to bring such overwhelming emotion and disquieting memories to the page.” —Quill & Quire

“This book roars with a kind of courage one rarely witnesses in this world. It is a harrowing read, horrific yet unexpectedly—almost impossibly—tender. Carmen Aguirre will show you what compassion truly looks like. And the final few pages will leave you gobsmacked.” —Alison Wearing, author of Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter and Honeymoon in Purdah

"How many shocks can the body and mind endure? Carmen Aguirre has a courage and love of life that feeds her writing. Each valuable day is of interest to her. But again, how much pain can be absorbed without the mind detaching? I read all Aguirre's work with fascination and a kind of awe, but Mexican Hooker #1 takes us further inside. The shocks are hitting us as we read." —Heather Mallick

“What a bold, brave, and wise artist Carmen Aguirre is. Despite some soul-crushing experiences in her past, she’s written a memoir that’s life-affirming, awe-inspiring, and even wickedly funny in parts. Mexican Hooker #1 has a lot to teach us about the ways of the world.” —Neil Smith, author of Boo

Praise for Carmen Aguirre's Something Fierce:

#1 National Bestseller
Winner, Canada Reads (2012)


"Aguirre's writing is splendid; she combines black humour and a sharp intellect and tells her powerful story in grand style." —Publishers Weekly

"Raw, courageously honest and funny." —The Globe and Mail

"Aguirre's tone is far from defeatist in this drily humourous, tautly narrated and inspiring memoir." —Metro (UK)

"Told with humour and amazement, a memoir of thought-provoking power." —Big Issue (UK)

"The Chilean diaspora that fled after General Pinochet's coup produced poignant poetry and folk songs. Yet until now it has been difficult to find a convincing memoir of the experience. Carmen Aguirre has plugged this gap
. . . This memoir's piercing eye for detail and exceptional emotional openness draws the reader into a harrowing world . . ." —Times Literary Supplement (UK)

"A spellbinding, important, informative and wildly entertaining story." —Telegraph-Journal

"Aguirre writes like someone who knows how it feels to exhale with no certainty that another breath will follow" —National Post

"A coming-of-age story that blends birthday parties and puppy love with indoctrination in the tradecraft of subversion." —Toronto Star

"Aguirre has crafted a narrative packed with suspense, emotion, and dollops of sardonic humour." —Quill and Quire


Genre/Category: Non-Fiction—Memoir/Politics
Length: 304 pages (hc)
Publication Date: April 2016



Canada English, Random House Canada
UK & Commonwealth excl. Canada, Portobello/Granta
North American English Audio rights, Post-Hypnotic Press

For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.

Author Name

Photo Credit:
2015 Alejandra Aguirre

Carmen Aguirre is a multiple-award winning theatre artist and author who has written and co-written twenty-five plays. Her first book, the critically-acclaimed Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, was published by Portobello books in 2012 and is a #1 national bestseller in Canada. Carmen has eighty film, tv, and stage acting credits, including a lead role in the indie favourite Quinceanera, winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. She lives in Vancouver.