Monday, December 27, 2004

Caramelo

Of course, you can't really go wrong with Cisneros. I loved this book. It was one of those books with passages that I wanted to read again and again. Like when the main character is in need of help and she says the only person she can think to call is Ralph Nader. I wanted to write down quotes as I read through the book, but I thought my hand would get too tired and I would run out of space in my notebook.

It's the story of a young girl growing up in Chicago and her struggle between her two worlds: America and Mexico. She visits her grandparents in Mexico often, and as she grows up she begins to see the world differently. On one trip back to Mexico she remembers her childhood and wants to get a ballooon. But when she walks down the street to buy the balloon-she doesn't remember feeling so afraid on the streets, and then the balloon salesman hits on her. Wow, what woman can't relate to that-it feels like one minute you're a child, the next you're a sex object. Then as a teenager her family moves to San Antonio, where she is around many other Mexican-Americans. But they see her as different, they say her Spanish is different, and she doesn't quite fit in.

I can really relate to this book since I grew up in Virginia without many Hispanics, then I moved to Texas at about the same age as the main character in this book. I too was seen as different, since I'm not fluent in Spanish, etc. And also I would visit my grandparents in Texas as a kid, but as an adult it is much different. (My grandparents, like the ones on this book, live in an older, low income area. Not that I'm scared to go there now, but I know now not to walk by myself down the street, when as a kid I would...)

Great book! Thanks Cisneros for giving a voice to people like me!

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