"Based on Josefina Borquez, a working-class woman whose difficult life spanned some of the seminal events in early-twentieth-century Mexican history, Poniatowska's Jesusa is a tough, coarse-mouthed, cantankerous character who pushes contradiction to its limits. Mystical yet practical, she faces the obstacles in her path with gritty determination. A native of Oaxaca, Jesusa loses her mother at a young age, and she lives with her father until one of his girlfriends stabs her. Moved to her godmother's house, where she serves as a maid, Jesusa is reunited with her father during the Mexican Revolution, and joins the cavalry unit in the army of General Jesus Carranza. She marries another solider, a chronic womanizer who systematically abuses and finally abandons her. After the Revolution, embittered by its failure to live up to its promises to the poor, Jesusa finds work in Mexico City, first as a domestic, then in a series of factories, and begins her long history of run-ins with the police." "Poniatowska documents a life of brutal deprivation, extraordinary hardship, and hardscrabble humor while providing a unique perspective on politics and the place of women in twentieth-century Mexico."--Jacket.