In the 1960s, political tension forces the García family away from Santo Domingo and towards the Bronx. The sisters all hit their strides in America, adapting and thriving despite cultural differences, language barriers, and prejudice. But Mami and Papi are more traditional, and they have far more difficulty adjusting to their new country. Making matters worse, the girls--frequently embarrassed by their parents--find ways to rebel against them.
It's well-written and an engaging read, and there are particular images and moments that have stayed with me. Yet I also felt very neutral about it -- not a lot of staying power for me.
Perhaps that is the most accurate message I can send about this book. It was good, it was enjoyable. The characters were well developed and the author did a good job capturing the world the Garcia Girls lived in: growing up in the Dominican Republic and moving to NYC; the process of becoming "American Girls" and the struggles that each family member had with their identities. But it didn't stick. It didn't haunt me or make me sit back and wonder about it. I don't go through my daily life and come across things that remind me of it.
It might have one thing I remember and will reference in the future - it is written in short chapters, starting with the most recent and going back to the 1960's in the Dominican Republic. That was an interesting way to write the book - but after every chapter I was left with questions that I knew would never get answered. That was frustrating.
Poignant and very enjoyable.
In this novel, set in the Dominican Republic, the Garcia girl’s father is over protected projective and how the Garcia girls matured over the time. “She has been too frightened to carry out any strategy, but now a road is opening up before her. She clasps her hands on her chest she can feel her pounding heart and nods. Then, as if the admission itself loosens her tongue, she begins to speak, English, a few words, of apology at first, then a great flood of explanation” Carla, the oldest Garcia sister, had the most difficulty adjusting to school and the English language. After the move to the United States she grew up to be a psychologist. Sandra, the second oldest of the daughters, Sandi felts stifled and frustrated as a child, and lost her artistic vision after she suffered a broken arm. She had mental breakdowns as an adult. Yolanda the rebellious tomboy of the family in the Dominican Republic, though once in the United States she developed into a poet. Her difficulties with men and painful divorce led her into a mental breakdown as well. Sofia the youngest daughter of the Garcia family is wild and rebellious streak came out during her adolescence, when she challenged her father’s authority and ran away to Germany to marry Otto
The four Garcia sisters, Carla, Sandra, Yolanda and Sofia, enjoyed a fairly she here’d and luxurious child hood in the Dominican Republic. They often received exciting presents from fao Schwarz in the United States. Carla remembers an iron bank representing Mary ascending to heaven which she gave to one of the family maids, who was later dismissed for sleeting the bank. Yolanda played with her boy cousin and showed him genitals in exchange for a human body coil and modeling clay. She also stole a new born kitten from its mother and put it inside a drum that she played until she grew bored and threw the kitten outside, where it sadly hobbled away. The mother cat appeared to her in nightmares and haunted her. Sandra wanted to be an artist but her irrepressible spirit got her in trouble and she was thrown out of art class. She later came upon a naked chained insane sculptor who scared her as she fell and broke her arm she lost her artistic vision and settled for being the sculptors muse when she realized he has used her face in a
representation of the Virgin Mary.
Yolanda was the tomboy of the family and got herself into trouble as a child. She is haunted by the memory of a kitten that she kidnapped from its mother, as well as the fear she felt as the family struggled to leave the Dominican Republic. Once in the United States, she had difficulty interacting with men in sexual and romantic situations, and eventually divorced her husband, John. This heartbreak led to a mental breakdown and the inability to use language in a meaningful way. This was a particularly traumatic experience since language was a particularly important part of her life as a poet. She returned to the Dominican Republic after her divorce in order to reconnect to her cultural roots, though she finds she has forgotten her Spanish and sticks out culturally. “When faced with a challenging situation, such as car trouble at night in the middle of nowhere, she feels most comfortable in her identity as an English speaking American woman, rather than a Dominican immigrant”, She is the sister who most enjoys taking on the role of storyteller, and she hopes to unfold the past to better understand the trauma that underlies the various struggles of the entire family.
Yolanda is the third and most imaginative of the four girls. She is a school teacher, poet and a writer. The nick names she had represented her personality, consist of “Joe”, “yosita”, and simply “yo”. The reason why they called her yo is because is Spanish is simply I. yoyo represented the toy that it represented her jumping from culture to culture finally the reason why they called her Joe is how they will call Yolanda in English. Her nicknames make her look more developed on how her personality is.
In the novel how the Garcia girls lost their accent I leaned many things and somehow I can connect with the book myself. When the book discuss of how the Garcia family moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic. “There are still times I wake up at three a clock in the morning and peer into the darkens. At that hour and in that loneliness, I hear her, a black furred thing lurking in the corners of my life her magenta mouth opening, waling over some violation that lies at the center of my art” this novel can connect to me because as having an experience from moving from our place to another and can cause many problems. That the way it connects to my life.