When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 26, 2009
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You are probably wondering why in the world you should read this book. Plain and simple, it shows you the ­trials that immigrants face when they move to the United States, including the many differences in language and culture. For ­example, when Esmeralda was growing up in Puerto Rico she would hear baladas, and when she got to New York, the music was rock and roll. In addition, the book shows what it’s like to have parents who are constantly fighting.

This book was great to read because I can relate to it; I am from Puerto Rico and know the whole jibaro lifestyle. However, the book is about a girl and what she has to live with: her parents never get married and her dad has a daughter with a different woman.

This novel also shows the customs of Puerto Rican people, like their small shops and traditional foods. Author Esmeralda Santiago was raised in Puerto Rico and when her mom gets a job, they move to New York, leaving their old life behind. Her life there is difficult because she is responsible for her younger siblings and herself.

When I Was Puerto Rican is perfect for those who like books that have real meaning. Sometimes it will make you sad and other times it will make you laugh. I highly recommend it to everyone.

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

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This article has 27 comments. Post your own now!

Jenny1397 said...
Feb. 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm
I am from Puerto Rico and by what you've written here, this kind of changes had place mostly by the 1960s and so on. But even until this this day, many citizens have to go through major changes. I haven't been through this but I know from my mom that it is very hard. Being a Puerto Rican makes you in a way very different from other places of the world. We are known for bad things, but mostly for the good. For our landscapings, how people are, the weather, the rich culture we have, and to leave i... (more »)
LeiraCarola said...
Feb. 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm

An important fact you didn't mention is that Puerto Ricans are United States citizens ergo, they aren't immigrants, they're migrants.


I have not read this book nor does it interest me much but I am Puerto Rican and have always lived on the island. I have, however, traveled a lot to US and Europe.

rOcK oN2129@4LIFE said...
Oct. 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I havent read this book yet but in the review it made me want to own it. I can completely relate to this book because i am puerto rican and i had to move,leaving my family behind, too. i will check the book out if its as good as the review.

thanks for the review 

puertoricanri said...
Jun. 21, 2011 at 6:09 am
This book is not about racism, but of a young girl growing up jibaro in Puerto Rico.  An eye opener on customs and family not that long ago.   A great read. 
Nerdynerd said...
May 11, 2011 at 6:53 pm

This book sounds really good. You are now making me wanting to get the book immediately and read it


dede1234 said...
Mar. 14, 2011 at 11:09 am

i guess this a great book even thoe i dnt read bt i think this a great book 2 read any day and any time and anywhere.


nothanks! said...
Feb. 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm
Puerto Rican's aren't immigrants.  They are migrants, they are United States citizens.
lalaland said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm
this is a pretty good written review i give it 2 thumps up
LibraryLindsay said...
Dec. 8, 2010 at 8:26 pm
I am not Puerto Rican, or an imigrant, but I loved this book!  I loved reading about the immigrant experience and the rich Puerto Rican culture. 
Jakethesnake said...
Nov. 16, 2010 at 2:32 pm
I wonder if it is in my school's library...
AlyDay This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 20, 2010 at 7:32 pm
I had to read this book for Spanish class and i truly loved it.
Usaf22 said...
Aug. 20, 2010 at 9:33 am
Jakethesnake replied...
Nov. 16, 2010 at 2:35 pm
What is so stupid is that people don't like Mexican-Americans, you know? Your screen name is USAF22. (Which I am wondering about. Is it two things at once? An F22 and the US AIR FORCE?) Your stepdad is in the military, you seem like you at least like it here,and you seem to speak very good english. I do not understand why people do not want Mexicans in this country.
writergirl13 replied...
Nov. 16, 2010 at 8:43 pm
I agree! Even though I'm from Ukraine and can't relate to the trials of Spanish-speaking people, I completely agree that it's baffling how some Americans don't want Mexicans in the country! I went through a similar experience myself when I lived in Germany. My teacher disliked me probably for the sole reason that I was from Ukraine and she ignored me, antagonized me, and just did a lot of things to me that teachers- or anyone for that matter- should never do. And this was from first to third gra... (more »)
Jakethesnake replied...
Nov. 16, 2010 at 10:14 pm
It is because we are still very racist and very sexist in this country. African-Americans and Mexican-Americans are looked down upon in this country. I know that it is very bad to say, but I am extremely lucky to be a Caucasian-American
Macx14 said...
Jul. 29, 2010 at 2:01 pm
The article is brief and not as full as it could be, but it still makes me want to read the book because you're clear and concise. Nice job!
LondonEye This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 7, 2010 at 6:11 pm
I dreaded reading this book for school last year, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up loving it when I was finished. Wonderful book to choose to review. 
Frances_Ostolaza said...
Jan. 12, 2010 at 8:58 pm
this piece is very nice. I am reading this book now and so far i like it.it go with what you say. i to relate to this book the same way you do.
Ellie_Michelle said...
Dec. 21, 2009 at 2:59 am
I haven't read the book but great job expressing your opinion! I will definitely consider reading it now.
screenname! said...
Nov. 12, 2009 at 6:32 pm
My mom has this book. I plan to read it soon
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