Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education

Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education

by Jennifer De Leon (Editor)

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Overview

College can be a complex time for Latinas, who are traditionally expected to leave home when they get married. In her essay “Only Daughter,” author Sandra Cisneros remarks, “After four years in college and two more in graduate school, and still no husband, my father shakes his head even now and says I wasted all that education.”

Wise Latinas is a collection of personal essays addressing the varied landscape of the Latina experience in higher education. For some Latinas, college, where they are vastly underrepresented, is the first time they are immersed in American culture outside their homes—and where the values of two cultures often clash. Wise Latinas is in part a response to this widening gap.

Featuring acclaimed writers such as Sandra Cisneros, Norma Cantú, and Julia Alvarez, to name a few, Wise Latinas shows that there is no one Latina college experience. With thoughtful and engaging pieces, Wise Latinas provides a platform for Latina writers to share their experiences in higher education and gives a voice to the many Latina women who have taken risks; embraced the new, confronted change; and maintained (and in some cases found) their roots.

 

Editorial Reviews

Marta Caminero-Santangelo

“On the most fundamental level, Wise Latinas aims to provide models for other Latinas. . . . [It was] a joy to read this book, and a reminder of the footsteps that we all trace.”—Marta Caminero-Santangelo, author of On Latinidad: U.S. Latino Literature and the Construction of Ethnicity

Huffington Post - Ru Freeman


"[Wise Latinas] holds relevance for any young person setting out of their homes for the first time."—Ru Freeman, Huffington Post

Rigoberto González

“An extraordinary collection of testimonies. There is plenty of honesty and no pretension in the voices included in Wise Latinas. These essays elicit the gamut of emotions from the reader, from chuckles to gasps to tears. An excellent anthology.”—Rigoberto González, author of Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa

 

Rigoberto Gonzalez

An extraordinary collection of testimonies. There is plenty of honesty and no pretension in the voices included in Wise Latinas. These essays elicit the gamut of emotions from the reader, from chuckles to gasps to tears. An excellent anthology.”—Rigoberto González, author of Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa

 

Library Journal

05/15/2014
Their stories vary, as do their backgrounds: a woman from San Antonio whose ancestors fought at the Battle of the Alamo—against, not for, Mexico—ends up at Barnard College and with a Chinese roommate; a girl from Bogota, Colombia, travels with her parents to Chicago to attend college, unaware of the city's brutal winters. The Latina contributors to this collection of personal essays—Norma Cantú, Sandra Cisneros, and Julia Alvarez, among others—have endured bigotry because of their ancestry and survived abuse because of their gender. What they have in common is their heritage and their strength that helps them to overcome obstacles and make something more of themselves. Editor De Leon, a Boston public school teacher and an instructor at the Grub Street Creative Writing Center, compiled this volume partly because she wished she'd had such a book when navigating the collegiate waters. But it's also meant to dispel stereotypes about Latina women in the predominantly white environment of American higher education. VERDICT Latinas approaching college age and those new to institutions of higher learning will relate to these essays, but the collection has merit beyond its intended audience. Filled with varying degrees of loneliness, fear, anger, and self-doubt, these stories have moments that speak to everyone.—Terry Christner, Hutchinson P.L., KS

Kirkus Reviews

2014-01-20
This aptly named collection of essays lives up to its title, a reference to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's quote that a "wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." Don't be put off by the subtitle, which suggests dry academic reading; these personal essays are full of learning and life. Contributors from different backgrounds and generations, including Sandra Cisneros, Ruth Behar, Joy Castro and Iris Gomez, preside over these pages with a wide range of concerns, including alienation, isolation and sexuality. In her introduction, essayist De Leon, a Boston schoolteacher, sets the tone with a tribute to her mother, a housekeeper from Guatemala who worked tirelessly to be sure her daughters went to college. Indeed, one of the common threads in the book is the idea of parental sacrifice for the betterment of children. The flip side can be a sense of loss and alienation­­ that comes from opening up cultural gaps within families. In "Stories She Told Us," Daisy Hernández tries to bridge the chasm between what she learns in the classroom and the hardships faced by her mother, who came to America from Colombia. She shares feminist ideas with her mother, thinking this knowledge will save her; eventually, however, she realizes, "[a]ll the things I'm trying to tell her, have been trying to teach her about, all these things that I needed words for, my mother already knows." Julia Alvarez, whose family fled the Dominican Republic under political duress, writes of her early academic alienation in America, when what was taught and how she was supposed to learn did not include "my ways of perceiving and moving in the world." In the wonderfully imaginative "WhiteGirlColorlessAfriPana," Gail M. Dottin ponders identity in a funny/sad/philosophic dialogue with herself. The abundance of high-quality material makes the book hard to put down. While it focuses on Latina experiences, the emotional truths these writers express have a broader resonance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780803245938
Publisher: Nebraska Paperback
Publication date: 03/01/2014
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 538,267
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)

Customer Reviews