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Casi una mujer (Almost a Woman)
     

Casi una mujer (Almost a Woman)

4.6 5
by Esmeralda Santiago, Nina Torres-Vidal, Nina Torres-Vidal (Other)
 

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A simultaneous Spanish-language edition, originally translated for Vintage by
Nina Torres-Vidal

In her new memior, the acclaimed author of When I Was Puerto Rican continues the riveting chronicle of her life.

"Negi," as Santiago's family affectionately calls her, leaves rural Macun in 1961 to live in a three-bedroom tenement apartment with

Overview

A simultaneous Spanish-language edition, originally translated for Vintage by
Nina Torres-Vidal

In her new memior, the acclaimed author of When I Was Puerto Rican continues the riveting chronicle of her life.

"Negi," as Santiago's family affectionately calls her, leaves rural Macun in 1961 to live in a three-bedroom tenement apartment with seven siblings, and inquisitive grandmother, and a strict mother who won't allow her to date. At thirteen, Negi yearns for her own bed, for privacy, and her father, who remains in Puerto Rico. Translating for Mami at the welfare office in the morning, starring as Cleopatra at New York's Performing Arts High School in the afternoon, and dancing salsa all night, she also seeks to find balance between being an American and Puerto Rican. When Negi defies her mother by going on a series of dates, she finds that independence brings challenges.

At once a universally poignant coming-of-age tale and a heartfelt immigrant's story, Almost a Woman is Santiago's triumphant journey into womanhood.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A courageous memoir...One witnesses the blessings, contradictions, and restraints of Puerto Rican culture." —The Washington Post Book World

"Richly evocative...[Santiago has] the skill to render the most minute details of her before and after lives." —The Los Angeles Times

"Santiago writes with a flair for detail, humor, and complex emotion that draws readers into a delightful...if sometimes heart breaking, personal journey." —The Orlando Sentinel

"A universal tale...made special by Santiago's simplicity and honesty." —Miami Herald

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This sequel to the story of Santiago's childhood (When I Was Puerto Rican) covers her life as an adolescent and young woman when she lived in Brooklyn, New York, with her mother (Mami) and 10 siblings during the 1960s. Puerto Rican immigrants, the family suffered through periods of poverty exemplified by the author's trips to the welfare office with Mami, where she translated her mother's Spanish so that they could obtain benefits. Santiago's good humor, zest for life and fighting spirit permeate her chronicle and moderate the impact of the hard times she describes. She studied acting at the prestigious Performing Arts Public High School and, despite feeling out of place because of her heritage, Santiago was able to obtain work in a children's theater and had a small role in the film Up the Down Staircase. Mami prevented her from dating until she was 17, but Santiago details several romantic involvements, including an affair with a Turkish filmmaker. Forced to lose her Puerto Rican accent to widen her acting range, Santiago never lost her connection to Mami, her family and her heritage, and her love for them all shines through this engaging memoir. (Sept.)
Library Journal
It's astonishing that we had to wait two years for the Spanish edition of Angela's Ashes--and over 30 years for the translation of Tom s's Down These Mean Streets, a classic that first introduced the barrio to wider audiences. But at least they're here. It's also a treat to have this memoir from Jim nez, Cuban born and now a leading literary scholar living in the United States. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this coming-of-age memoir, Santiago (When I Was Puerto Rican, 1990; Americaþs Dream, 1996) glosses over the powerful legacies of familial warmth and connection gleaned from her too-brief Puerto Rican childhood, and swims the lap to adulthood in New York City. When Santiago earns entry to the High School for Performing Arts in the late '60s, her life begins. Forever after, she suffers and thrills at the distance that separates her life at home with Mami (and her ten other children) and her life outside. Her family moves constantly; she never really knows her father, whom Mami has left behind. The young Santiago is armed with bright candor and a fiery optimism. She longs for an exalted future. Her familyþs strictness (no dating allowed) weighs on her. With sober resilience, she tries her hand in New York City's performing arts world. High school had fine-tuned her creativity but didn't really prepare her for the rough-and-tumble nature of it. While she dances in Latin clubs accompanied by her family, Santiago dreams she is "the pilot of [her] own plane and everywhere I went people were happy to see me and no one asked me where I was from " She writes honestly enough about adolescence, yet the link between her Latin origins and the nature of her creativity remains strangely neglected; real love seems to stay always one step ahead of her. She revels in the richness of being "a Puerto Rican ingenue/Cleopatra/Indian Classical dancer" onstage but here seems most articulate about life off the stage. The poetic possibilities of the memoir are lost to a finally tepid desire. Neither the artista Santiago dreams of becoming nor the woman she actually becomes emerge as clearly as thestreets of Brooklyn, as the people who guide her, or as the man she finally abandons. (Author tour)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375705267
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/1999
Edition description:
Spanish-language Edition
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
925,213
Product dimensions:
5.27(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.63(d)

Meet the Author

Esmeralda Santiago lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband and two children.

Translated into Spanish by Nina Torres-Vidal

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Casi una mujer (Almost a Woman) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
dancing_leaf More than 1 year ago
I am happy that I read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is the best book i have ever read. esmeralda santiago is an awesome writer with an awesome story to tell. i being a puerto rican was extremely proud and amazed at the way she portrayed the puerto rican life in New York at the time she lived there.