When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago | Teen Ink

When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago MAG

March 26, 2009
By Luar Orriola BRONZE, New Castle, Delaware
Luar Orriola BRONZE, New Castle, Delaware
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

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.

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This article has 27 comments.

on Feb. 21 2012 at 4:35 pm
Jenny1397 BRONZE, Bayamon, Other
2 articles 0 photos 3 comments
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 it all behind, I must say I admire who leaves it. You never know what you have until you lose it. I'm not that much of a fan to books like this one but you have awaken some interest in me to read it. I'll make sure to read it; I might want to know how this author has talked about La Isla Del Encanto. :)

on Feb. 21 2012 at 1:26 pm
LeiraCarola BRONZE, San Sebastian, Other
3 articles 2 photos 1 comment

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.

on 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 

on 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. 

on May. 11 2011 at 6:53 pm
Nerdynerd BRONZE, Harvey, Louisiana
4 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let's give peace a chance"
" I don't like writing, I like having written"
" Live like it's the end of the world"
" I rather be a frootloop in a bowl of cheerios, than a cheerio in a bowl of cheerios"

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


dede1234 said...
on 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...
on Feb. 11 2011 at 1:50 pm
Puerto Rican's aren't immigrants.  They are migrants, they are United States citizens.

on Jan. 25 2011 at 7:02 pm

I read this review, really want to read the book now (: I also enjoyed reading your discussions about racism.

I <3 TEEN INK :) (:

lalaland said...
on Jan. 20 2011 at 2:31 pm
this is a pretty good written review i give it 2 thumps up

on 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. 

on Nov. 16 2010 at 10:14 pm
Jakethesnake SILVER, Hernando, Mississippi
6 articles 0 photos 96 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Read, Read... Read everything, then write."-William Faulkner

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

on Nov. 16 2010 at 8:43 pm
writergirl13 GOLD, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
11 articles 8 photos 261 comments

Favorite Quote:
All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.
Ambrose Bierce

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 grade! I was small and I didn't know why she was being so mean to me, but then I found out. I personally think people are racist and "don't want" a certain people in their country because they don't accept that there can be different people, or, even better, that those people can actually do something they can't, something as simple as speak another language! It's just downright sad and pathetic if you ask me!!!

on Nov. 16 2010 at 2:35 pm
Jakethesnake SILVER, Hernando, Mississippi
6 articles 0 photos 96 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Read, Read... Read everything, then write."-William Faulkner

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.

on Nov. 16 2010 at 2:32 pm
Jakethesnake SILVER, Hernando, Mississippi
6 articles 0 photos 96 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Read, Read... Read everything, then write."-William Faulkner

I wonder if it is in my school's library...

AlyDay GOLD said...
on Aug. 20 2010 at 7:32 pm
AlyDay GOLD, North Grafton, Massachusetts
14 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I had to read this book for Spanish class and i truly loved it.

Usaf22 said...
on Aug. 20 2010 at 9:33 am

on Jul. 29 2010 at 2:01 pm
deus-ex-machina14 BRONZE, Stewartsville, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 439 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There are two main tragedies in life. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it." -Oscar Wilde

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!

on Jul. 7 2010 at 6:11 pm
LondonEye DIAMOND, Randolph, New Jersey
89 articles 125 photos 71 comments
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. 

on Jan. 12 2010 at 8:58 pm
Ostolaza SILVER, Bluffton, South Carolina
7 articles 8 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
I think that if your writing is good for you then its the best it can be.

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.

on Dec. 21 2009 at 2:59 am
SerenityMine BRONZE, Not Saying, California
2 articles 0 photos 156 comments
I haven't read the book but great job expressing your opinion! I will definitely consider reading it now.