Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: Las Niñas

Today, we review Las Niñas: A Collection of childhood memories by Sarah Rafael García.

Las Niñas is a collection of autobiographical childhood memories of three Mexican-American sisters. It recounts their struggles while being raised as the first generation born in America of their Mexican family. Las Niñas portrays common situations that immigrant families can relate to through their own process of cultural assimilation. Each chapter is a different childhood memory celebrating culture, life and change through humor and self-reflection. Its creative style and unique display of a child's perception will entice many genres of readers and provide insight on the possible challenges that many recent immigrants face with their family's new generation in America. The childhood memories lightly touch on issues of immigration, learning English as a second language and assimilating into the American culture. Las Niñas reveals the most humorous, intimate and traumatic events that occurred as Sarita, Chuchen and Nini grew up in their family's new country, ultimately providing the foundation for surviving their father's death at such a young age. The bond among the three sisters allows the reader to feel their family's pride and growth in a dual culture. Nevertheless, the reader's own entertainment and personal relevance will be the greatest contributor to Las Niñas popularity and triumph. Las Niñas represent an honest and heart-felt account of first generation Latinas, American-born girls, who grew up in a Mexican cultural cocoon, to open it and converge in to their outgoing personalities into middle class ethnic America.

Reviewed by: Sandra Lopez


Review: I was so impressed by this writer's amazing talent.

La Niñas is a short autobiography about three young girls growing up as a first-generation Mexican-American family in the U.S. Each memory reads like a short story. It navigates the experience from a child's perspective but carries an adult philosophy with compelling revelation. This book explored the daily issues that many immigrant families go through when assimilating to a new, unfamiliar country. Like most childhood memories, there were good times, bad times, and most often confusing times (especially for a little girl.) In "Chair, Chair, Chair," little Sarah has to give a speech in front of her entire school. The thing is her primary language was Spanish, and when she said "chair" for the very first time, her teacher made fun of her. Of course, the rest of the Spanish-speaking students were afraid to step up and speak--a common sight among our public school system.

One of my favorite parts was when the girls were fighting each other over the bathroom due to diarrhea they got from peanut butter. They called it "peeing from the butt." I laughed at that part. I also liked that each story foretold a life lesson the author acquired from growing up. Like when the Vietnamese family wanted to buy her dog, Twinkie, just so they could eat it. Ewe! Who wouldn't find that disgusting? But then her father explained that every culture has different traditions and they should not be judged by it. Just like Mexicans eat cow's head. Very true!

This book was a great example of growing up Latina. It definitely made me question my cultural issues and reflect back on my family. Write down the name Sarah Rafael Garcia--she's about to be the next Sandra Cisneros.

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