How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

3.9 109
by Julia Alvarez
     
 

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It's a long way from Santo Domingo to the Bronx, but if anyone can go the distance, it's the Garcia girls. Four lively latinas plunged from a pampered life of privilege on an island compound into the big-city chaos of New York, they rebel against Mami and Papi's old-world discipline and embrace all that America has to offer.  See more details below

Overview

It's a long way from Santo Domingo to the Bronx, but if anyone can go the distance, it's the Garcia girls. Four lively latinas plunged from a pampered life of privilege on an island compound into the big-city chaos of New York, they rebel against Mami and Papi's old-world discipline and embrace all that America has to offer.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The chronicle of a family in exile that is forced to find a new identity in a new land, these 15 short tales, grouped into three sections, form a rich, novel-like mosaic. Alvarez, whose first fiction this is, has an ear for the dialogue of non-natives, and the strong flavors of Dominican syntax and cultural values permeate these pages. Many parallels may be drawn between these stories and Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club. Central to both are young, first generation American females in rebellion against their immigrant elders, and in both books the stories pile up with layers of multiple points of view and overlapping experiences, building to a sense of family myths in the making. The four Garcia daughters, whom we meet as adults but then re-encounter as children as the narrative flows backward in time, are accustomed to a prestigious perch in Spanish Caribbean society. But political upheavals force Papi and Mami to seek refuge in a more modest way of life in the Bronx, and their little girls become transplants who thrive and desire a far bigger embrace of this new world than the elder Garcias can contemplate or accept. This is an account of parallel odysseys, as each of the four daughters adapts in her own way, and a large part of Alvarez's Gar cia's accomplishment is the complexity with which these vivid characters are rendered. (May)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Fifteen interconnected stories portray with warmth and humor the assimilation of a Dominican doctor's family into urban American culture.
Library Journal
This rollicking, highly original first novel tells the story (in reverse chronological order) of four sisters and their family, as they become Americanized after fleeing the Dominican Republic in the 1960s. A family of privilege in the police state they leave, the Garcias experience understandable readjustment problems in the United States, particularly old world patriarch Papi. The sisters fare better but grow up conscious, like all immigrants, of living in two worlds. There is no straightforward plot; rather, vignettes (often exquisite short stories in their own right) featuring one or more of the sisters--Carle, Sandi, Yolanda, and Fifi--at various stages of growing up are strung together in a smooth, readable story. Alvarez is a gifted, evocative storyteller of promise.-- Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
School Library Journal
YA-- This sensitive story of four sisters who must adjust to life in America after having to flee from the Dominican Republic is told through a series of episodes beginning in adulthood, when their lives have been shaped by U. S. mores, and moving backwards to their wealthy childhood on the island. Adapting to American life is difficult and causes embarrassment when friends meet their parents, anger as they are bullied and called ``spics,'' and identity confusion following summer trips to the family compound in the Dominican Republic. These interconnected vignettes of family life, resilience, and love are skillfully intertwined and offer young adults a perspective on immigration and families as well as a look at America through Hispanic eyes. This unique coming-of-age tale is a feast of stories that will enchant and captivate readers.-- Pam Spencer, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA
The Washington Post Book World
"Subtle . . . Powerful . . . Reveals the intricacies of family, the impact of culture and place, and the profound power of language." —The San Diego Tribune
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"[A] joy to read." —The Cleveland Plain Dealer
The San Diego Tribune
"Poignant . . . Powerful . . . Beautifully capture[s] the threshold experience of the new immigrant, where the past is not yet a memory.” —The New York Times Book Review
The New York Times Book Review
"[A] joy to read." —The Cleveland Plain Dealer
From the Publisher
"A clear-eyed look at the insecurity and yearning for a sense of belonging that are a part of the immigrant experience . . . Movingly told." —The Washington Post Book World

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780606234702
Publisher:
Demco Media
Publication date:
01/12/2010
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
307
Sales rank:
816,500
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are saying about this

Gloria Naylor
"A major achievement....A family presented with such eloquence and such profound honesty you want to claim them as yours."

Meet the Author

Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. A novelist, poet, and essayist, she is the author of nineteen books, including How the García Girls Lost Their Accents,In the Time of the Butterflies—a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Selection—Yo!, Something to Declare, In the Name of Salome, Saving theWorld, A Wedding in Haiti, and The Woman I Kept to Myself. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including the 2013 National Medal of Arts, a Latina Leader Award in Literature in 2007 from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the 2002 Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the 2000 Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library’s 1996 program “The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, from John Donne to Julia Alvarez.” A writer-in-residence at Middlebury College, Alvarez and her husband, Bill Eichner, established Alta Gracia, an organic coffee farm–literacy arts center, in her homeland, the Dominican Republic.

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Brief Biography

Hometown:
Middlebury, Vermont
Date of Birth:
March 27, 1950
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Education:
B.A., Middlebury College, 1971; M.F.A., Syracuse University, 1975

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