when i was puerto rican by esmeralda santiago

October 17, 2011
By Anonymous

When I Was Puerto Rican
By Esmeralda Santiago

When I was Puerto Rican, a rough and tough novel created by Esmeralda Santiago to tell none other than her own heart breaking, sob choking story.

Esmeralda has her happy life as a poor girl in Puerto Rico with her parents and currently 2 sisters. Her family struggles to make ends meet as she grows and becomes more observant of her parents and kids her age as well as her changing body and mind. It gets harder as her parents split and her mother moves with the children to the big apple. (NY of course.)

In the 1960s, the autobiography twists through the winding and unpredictable roads of immigration and racism as well as sexism. Esmeralda, her family and acquaintances are so relatable it was almost as if I was there watching Esmeralda explore life. Throughout the story there were some dry spots, but most of the plot was filled with action and emotion that pulled at my heartstrings. I was disappointed at some action

Beautiful and empowering to Latino women today

scenes where there wasn’t enough description, I was lost but urged to be found by Esmeralda. In the fight scenes between her mother and father, there wasn’t a lot of depth, she would seem to keep the scenes going longer than necessary by using different verbs and adjectives.

A major theme in the story is strength. Through the beatings, family problems and lack of money she turned it around pretty well. Let’s face it, Esmeralda has been through a lot and not only lives to tell the tale but she graduated Harvard and the school of performing arts in Manhattan.

All together When I Was Puerto Rican is fantastic. Esmeralda is a great role model for any girl of color who struggles in life. I could read her twisted tale over and over!

The author's comments:
beautiful and inspiring

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