American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood

by Marie Arana

Paperback, 2002




Delta Trade Paperback (2002), Edition: Reprint, 309 pages


Biography & Autobiography. Multi-Cultural. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:In her father�??s Peruvian family, Marie Arana was taught to be a proper lady, yet in her mother�??s American family she learned to shoot a gun, break a horse, and snap a chicken�??s neck for dinner. Arana shuttled easily between these deeply separate cultures for years. But only when she immigrated with her family to the United States did she come to understand that she was a hybrid American whose cultural identity was split in half. Coming to terms with this split is at the heart of this graceful, beautifully realized portrait of a child who �??was a north-south collision, a New World fusion. An American Chica.�?� Here are two vastly different landscapes: Peru�??earthquake-prone, charged with ghosts of history and mythology�??and the sprawling prairie lands of Wyoming. In these rich terrains resides a colorful cast of family members who bring Arana�??s historia to life...her proud grandfather who one day simply st… (more)


½ (39 ratings; 3.7)

User reviews

LibraryThing member mssbluejay
This memoir was filled with interesting stories, history, and poignant observations about the adventures and difficulties of having a mixed background. I was the first person in my family to be born in the U.S. Although both of my parents are from the same country, I identified greatly with the
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author's feeling of not belonging in either country, always an "other." In Colombia, I am a foreigner; in the U.S., I am a minority. I am too "Americanized" for my family, having adopted values of American culture - independence, belief in equality, and a non-traditional approach to gender, family, and marriage. I liked how the author tied things together in the final chapter, even though it seemed a bit rushed compared to other chapters. Overall, I think it's a good book for readers who have experienced being "outsiders" in one place or another.
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LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
Marie Arana grew up in an intercultural family with a South American father born in Peru, and a North American mother. Her parents met in Boston, Massachusetts of all places. This all sounds exotic and fun, but it wasn't always easy for Arana to know how to fit in on either side of the cultural
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The very first sentence of American Chica sets the entire tone of Arana's memoir, "The corridors of my skull are haunted" (p 5). Indeed, Arana's family history hides ghosts and her story prods proverbial skeletons out of closets. I won't give away the details but there was one moment in Arana's story that had me holding my breath. She has a brush with impropriety that is tinged with the guilty question of did I bring this on myself? Is it somehow my fault? I could relate.The most poignant pieces of Arana's writing was when she was remembering her innocence; the times when prejudice didn't darken her childhood.
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Original language


Physical description

309 p.; 5.5 inches


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