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Almost a woman
Esmeralda Santiago
Adult Nonfiction F128.9.P85S269 1998

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This sequel to the story of Santiago's childhood (When I Was Puerto Rican) covers her life as an adolescent and young woman when she lived in Brooklyn, New York, with her mother (Mami) and 10 siblings during the 1960s. Puerto Rican immigrants, the family suffered through periods of poverty exemplified by the author's trips to the welfare office with Mami, where she translated her mother's Spanish so that they could obtain benefits. Santiago's good humor, zest for life and fighting spirit permeate her chronicle and moderate the impact of the hard times she describes. She studied acting at the prestigious Performing Arts Public High School and, despite feeling out of place because of her heritage, Santiago was able to obtain work in a children's theater and had a small role in the film Up the Down Staircase. Mami prevented her from dating until she was 17, but Santiago details several romantic involvements, including an affair with a Turkish filmmaker. Forced to lose her Puerto Rican accent to widen her acting range, Santiago never lost her connection to Mami, her family and her heritage, and her love for them all shines through this engaging memoir. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This book continues the life story that Santiago began in When I Was Puerto Rican (LJ 9/15/93). After her family's arrival in New York City, Santiago faced the difficult process of assimilation. As the oldest of eight children, she led her siblings in exploring the new culture and opportunities available to them. Santiago's memoir traces her personal growth through her teenage years; she describes her relationships with her family, her early dating experiences, and her first sexual encounters. In the end, she strikes a tenuous balance between her traditional, family-oriented culture and the new world of mainstream American society. Santiago's descriptive prose and lively dialog draw the reader in; we are reminded of the pains and pleasures of adolescence and wonder what happens next in her life. For literary memoir collections.ÄGwen Gregory, New Mexico State Univ., Las Cruces (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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