Book Review: American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood

American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood

Written by Marie Arana
Published by Bantam Dell
ISBN: 978-0385319638
Age level: Adult

Amongst many other things, Marie Arana, author of American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood, is a brilliant storyteller. American Chica, her memoir, tells the story of a childhood, growing up with a Peruvian engineer and aristocrat for a father and an American musician as a mother. She begins with slowly discussing and dissecting her family structure: her perfect sister and her adventurous brother, her two parents who seem, at times, so different from each other, and her role. In the end, it’s not only a beautiful narrative of her background, it’s also a telling tale of the lineage of a family and the connection of two different cultures that offer distinctly divergent ideas of what it means to be “American.”

Wendy Gimbel, author of the New York Times book review for American Chica, stated:

“One of the many reasons the reader can’t put this memoir down is the author’s impressive command of her craft. “Storytelling,” the critic Walter Benjamin once wrote, “sinks the thing into the life of the storyteller, in order to bring it out of him again. Thus traces of the storyteller cling to the story the way handprints of the potter cling to the dry vessel.” Arana has left her own imprint on her material, while at the same time displaying virtuosity in the storyteller’s traditional gifts: sparseness, clarity and a passion for allegory.”

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Book Review: Leaving Glorytown

Leaving Glorytown by Eduardo CalcinesLeaving Glorytown: One Boy’s Struggle Under Castro
Written by Eduardo F. Calcines
Published by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009  
ISBN:   9780374343941
Ages: 12 and up

Description (from Goodreads):

Eduardo F. Calcines

Eduardo F. Calcines

Eduardo F. Calcines was a child of Fidel Castro’s Cuba; he was just three years old when Castro came to power in January 1959. After that, everything changed for his family and his country. When he was ten, his family applied for an exit visa to emigrate to America and he was ridiculed by his schoolmates and even his teachers for being a traitor to his country. But even worse, his father was sent to an agricultural reform camp to do hard labor as punishment for daring to want to leave Cuba. Continue reading