Customer Reviews for

When I Was Puerto Rican

Average Rating 4
( 107 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

It started with the 1st book!

I read this when I was younger and fell in love with this book. My family also comes from a Puerto Rican background. I just love how Esmeralda puts her words into writing. I read the book in less than two days.

posted by NYC_B00KW0RM on December 1, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

I'm loving it! Takes me back to my early visits to Puerto Rico.

Although I never lived in PR, I remember my parents talking about it and remember experiencing some of the things that Esmeralda talks about when visiting my grandmother years ago. I found myself laughing out loud on the subway. I love the way she interjects the Spani...
Although I never lived in PR, I remember my parents talking about it and remember experiencing some of the things that Esmeralda talks about when visiting my grandmother years ago. I found myself laughing out loud on the subway. I love the way she interjects the Spanish words throughout the book. I knew all of them. I would recommend this book to anyone who grew up in a Puerto Rican family!

posted by DP_From_Bklyn on February 22, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2004

    Real, witty and funny

    Although the story takes place in Puerto Rico, this book took me back to my childhood in the Dom. Rep. It made me realize how closely related both cultures really are. The book reminded me how I was instructed not to look back while in church, and how I would be elbowed in the ribs if I did. Santiago made me laugh; at the same time, I wanted to cry for the things she went through as a child. I read this book for a college book review. Now I want my daughters to read it and learn about their culture and feel the pride and joy of being Latina.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2004

    Excellent; vivid, wonderfully written

    Being Puerto Rican, I grew up not knowing that there were Hispanic writers out there. It wasn't until I was in College that I learned of writers such as Ms. Santiago. Reading her words made me want to laugh and cry in the same exact moments, because the emotions were so true to my own family's way of life. She brought me back to the farm on my family's land in Puerto Rico, and to Queens, where I grew up. She validated feelings I've had that no authors of my childhood ever showed knowledge of. I highly recommend this book, and plan to read others. Also, if you don't speak Spanish, the book has a glossary in the back. So don't be afraid to try something new!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2004

    THE Best Book EVER!

    I must say, as a 17-year-old Puerto Rican female raised in the same section of Brooklyn as Esmeralda Santiago, I understand the hardships she had to go through. Till this day there are many Puerto Ricans in the Brooklyn area and other areas that struggle with the things Ms. Santiago went through such as adversity, parents who love & hate each other, and the search for a better life. Not only as a female, but as a Puerto Rican I can relate to every one of the issues Ms. Santiago went through and I thank her so much for writing that book. It made me realize I'm not the only one going through what she did and feeling what she felt. If you haven't read it..PICK IT UP! You won't regret it. (P.S If you're a Puerto Rican who isn't in touch with your roots...this book helps you understand a lot)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2003

    thankfully i finally read it

    Both my sister and mother had read this book and had loved it equally. Although i had put it off for a long time, when i finally did read the book I finished the book in less than 2 days only putting down to sleep. Esmeralda Santiago's detailed childhood is one that will keep you wanting for more. I recommend this book to any and everyone and once you've read it you have to continue the journey it with it's conclusion in Almost A Woman.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2003

    The Best Puerto Rican Story Ever Written Yet Thus, Far.

    This book will make you laugh and cry at the same time. She reminds those of us that are Puerto Rican, what it is really like to be Puerto Rican in the U.S. I hightly recommend this book for reading. Auburn University Student......

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2003

    Excellent book

    I couldn't put the book down! It was sooo good. I just happened to pick it up because of the title and I found myself totally immersed in the story. With the great passion, emotion and detail Esmeralda Santiago puts into her writing, it will make you feel as though you are experiencing everything with her. I would recommend this book to any Latina, or any woman in general who enjoys a good book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2003

    ENGLISH 002 AKA= Tata' sGirls

    Santiago was trying to prove to her readers that she can survive the many trials and conflicts that occurred in her life. Even though she had a rough childhood, she still managed to make a great life for herslf. The story included real life events that happened to her in Puerto Rico and New York. She showed the differences in the two cultures and what she had to live up to and try to fit in. By her sharing all her experiences, shows us why she is the strong successful Puerto Rican woman she is today. Coming from a life with no future, she made her life something unbelievable. She also showed us that working hard for what she wanted, over came her goals and let her achieve her dreams.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2003

    Absolutely wonderous!

    I bought When I Was Puerto Rican and Almost A Woman together with a gift certificate I recieved for Christmas. I have always loved memoirs, but wasn't sure if I would enjoy these ones. However, I had read Sandra Ciserno's The House on Mango Street, and wanted to read some more Latino cultural literature. What an absolutely lovely book! I could not put this book down and finished it, unfortunately. This was one of those books you wish lasted forever, but knew in your heart that it must end. I love to read, but rarely with a book am I entertained 100 percent of the time. With this, And Red China Blues by Jan Wong, I was. It is now one of my favorite books; it has opened my eyes and made me appreciate the Latino community. Too much we stereotype it; like Mami says, there is enough jobs for everybody. I want to pursue Spanish now that I've read this book. A beautiful transformation Santiago makes from caterpillar to butterfly. Reccomended absoltuely.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2002

    Couldn't Put it Down!!

    I am not an avid reader, but when a friend told me about this book, I had to run out and get it. When I finally got this book I Couldn't Put it Down!! As a mother of 2 it's hard to find some quiet time to read, but with this book, I made the time. As I was reading it, I was actually living her life, I felt as if I were her going through all the things she went through. She explained everything so vividly, with such incredible descriptions that I could see and smell everything she spoke of. It was a wonderful experinence. A must have book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2002

    Back in my childhood

    I am 40+ years old and while I am reading this book, I feel that I am 9 years old with my Mom once again. Time has stood still. I find myself laughing while I am reading this book on the bus to work. I suggest to all Puerto Ricans/Neuyoricans to go out and read this book. It is truly an amazing account which we all can relate to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2002

    Incredible Writing!

    Esmeralda Santiago is a fantastic writer! You can smell the cocounuts, and feel the dirt road on your feet...This story is about the Puerto Rican culture and heritage...great read, highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2002

    I wish there were more like this one

    I found this title when I was looking for books like The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan since I enjoy her books so much. I read both this one and Almost a Woman in just a couple of days. They're hard to put down once you start reading. I've also enjoyed America's Dream. I wish Ms. Santiago would write a 3rd book in the series so we know what happens to her after she leaves New York at the end of Almost a woman.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2001

    On point

    This book is written exactly the one feels. The datails are so amazing, and on point. I recommend this book to everyone, Puerto Rican, or not.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2001

    Could not put it down

    I truly enjoyed this book. My mother also came from Puerto Rico in the early 50's in search of a better life and told me stories as a child and continues to do so. I always admired 'mami' for her struggles, but was not able to fully understand until I read this book. It will make you realize where all the words like cocotazos and the hot chocolate made with 'meniel' came from I could not put it down..Thank you Esmeralda...for writing such a great book and making appreciate 'our' struggles as Puerto Ricans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2001

    Comparing experiences

    I read this book because i wanted to know how different people experienced their arrival to this country and Esmeralda Santiago exemplifies in writing her experiences. I was able to relate to her story based on my past. I enjoyed reading this book for it made me re-encounter memories of my homeland.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2000

    Thank you, Esmeralda Santiago!

    Esmeralda Santiago expresses so beautifully the feelings of millions of immigrants to this country, regardless of their origins. As an immigrant myself, I have often tried unsuccessfully to express the feeling of no longer being a part of my native country and at the same time not ever being an integral part of this country. Santiago has done this for me and I am so grateful for it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2000

    Outstanding Book/

    I love this book so much, that it reminded me of my family when they were growing up back in the fifties in Puerto Rico. My grandmother, was like Negi's mom. Growing up in Puerto Rico and raising 5 children of her own with a crazy grandfather who came and went when he pleased. My mom was the one to watch her brother and sisters while my grandma worked hard to bring the bread and butter.My mom had to handle the cocotazos because she was the oldest and had to be resposible for all her siblings. Then after my grandma brought her here to NY and raised her the same. When I was Puerto Rican was a touching book and it reminded me of my mom when she was growing up.Again, this was an awsome book and it shows you how it was growing up in the 50's in PR and the heritage and culture that comes along with it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2000

    well-written biography

    This is the most exciting novel that I have read in a long time. I have never read a biography novel this moving and descriptive before. Reading about Negi's childhood made me laugh one time, then cry the next. This book proved that childhood is not always happy and carefree; there are also a lot of hard times. If you're loooking for a good biography story to read, 'When I was Puerto Rican' is good to start with.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2000

    Highly Recommend it.

    When I was Puerto Rican, is a wonderful memoir of a girl coming of age in rural Puerto Rico. The best book I have read in a long time, I was disapointed to see it end, but unfortunatly all good things do. Read it you'll love it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2000

    WHEN I WAS PUERTORICAN .....IS OFF DA HOOK

    THIS IS AN EXECELLENT BOOK. NEGI WAS JUST LIKE MY MOM, AND TO READ HER EXPERIENCE MADE ME REALIZE WHY MY MOM DOES, AND SAYS THE THINGS SHE DOES. NEGI USED WORDS THAT WE USE LIKE 'JIBARO' AND 'COCOTAZO' AND I COULD RELATE TO THOSE WORDS (ESPECIALLY COCOTAZO)BY HEARING THESE WORDS, THE WAY SHE DESCRIBED HER SURRONDINGS, I FELT LIKE I WAS IN MY BEAUTIFUL ISLAND, BORINQUEN, AGAIN!!!!

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