To kick of Hispanic Heritage Month, I would like to share a book that has always been in my household, whether it was being read or not. It is a book that has been passed down and one that truly resonates within my family. The author carries her readers back to when they themselves were growing up. With vivid memories of her childhood and of family, the author allows and seems to ask for a close look at her life. When I Was Puerto Rican tells the stories of a Puerto Rican childhood with its many aspects and attributes, adjustments made in response to her families big move to New York. 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.
When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
Published October 11th 1994 by Vintage Books USA
Esmeralda Santiago’s story begins in rural Puerto Rico, where her childhood was full of both tenderness and domestic strife, tropical sounds and sights as well as poverty. Growing up, she learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of tree frogs in the mango groves at night, the taste of the delectable sausage called morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby’s soul to heaven. As she enters school we see the clash, both hilarious and fierce, of Puerto Rican and Yankee culture. When her mother, Mami, a force of nature, takes off to New York with her seven, soon to be eleven children, Esmeralda, the oldest, must learn new rules, a new language, and eventually take on a new identity. In this first volume of her much-praised, bestselling trilogy, Santiago brilliantly recreates the idyllic landscape and tumultuous family life of her earliest years and her tremendous journey from the barrio to Brooklyn, from translating for her mother at the welfare office to high honors at Harvard.
Pick up a copy at any book store or online 🙂