How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents by Julia Alvarez This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

This is a remarkable tale of one family’s struggle to transition from life in the Dominican Republic to living in the United States. Julia Alvarez organizes her novel into three sections, each with five chapters, which take place in the mid- to late twentieth century. Alvarez has constructed a masterful literary work that is enjoyable and touching.

The story focuses on the four Garcia sisters: Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia. Their father, Carlos, stirs up controversy by opposing the tyrannical dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, forcing him to flee with his family to the United States.

Adapting to their new life proves challenging for the family. Carlos wants his daughters to maintain their Dominican values, while they explore their budding American identities. Laura, their mother, has difficulty accepting her middle-class position in New York City, since she was born to an incredibly wealthy and powerful family in the Dominican Republic.

The importance of language is particularly evident in Alvarez’s book. The girls are bilingual, familiar with both Spanish and English, which underscores their entrapment between the two cultures. While language holds special meaning for each of the girls, it is exceptionally important to Yolanda, an aspiring poet. For other characters, limited linguistic ability serves as a barrier to successful communication and personal growth, as Carla and Sandra demonstrate.

This novel is definitely worth reading. Well-written and moving, it speaks profoundly to anyone who has struggled with trying to live in two different worlds at the same time.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

AnaisDubois!;) said...
Oct. 31, 2011 at 12:14 pm
I read this book and it is ne of my favorite books of all time. Right now I'm reading "In the Time of the Butterflies" by Julia Alvarez. I encourage you to read it! Love the review, it does the book justice ;)
sabortooth1 said...
Jul. 4, 2010 at 3:22 pm
Please read the book review of The Kite Runner (search it). Really Inspiring!
spontaneous09 said...
Nov. 26, 2009 at 12:44 am
It sounds good. I am going to look it up.
Site Feedback