How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents


Author:  Julia Alvarez

Title:  How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Genre:  Latino, Audio Book

Publication Date: 1991; Audio 2006

Number of Pages: 8 Compact Discs/ 9.5 hours

Geographical Setting: Bronx, New York

Time Period: Early 1970‘s to the late 1980’s

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: The Garcia family, consisting of four sisters and their parents, flee from political turmoil in the Dominican Republic to New York.  As the four sisters become more Americanized, they grow further apart not only from each other, but from their parents and their traditional ways.  Brought up in a lavish lifestyle, the family needs to learn how to endure life as the middle-class and find that all immigrants are defined in one category no matter where they come from.  Their story is told in reverse chronological order and we are taken through a journey of the sexuality of each of the sisters, their various experiences with drugs, racism, romantic relationships and differing personalities.  The tale of a clash of cultures, dreams and challenges for a family trying to fit in.

Subject Headings:  Sisters- Fiction, Dominican Americans- Fiction, Bronx- Fiction, Audiobooks, Cultural Identity- Fiction

Appeal: family epic, relationships, conflict, sexuality, cultural readjustment, several points of view, narrative, tension, crisis, tone, identity, measured, complex, introspective

3 terms that best describe this book: Coming of age, issue oriented, unembellished

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Latina Self-Portraits: Interviews with Contemporary Women Writers by Bridget Kevane and Juanita Heredia
Ten interviews with authors of Latina literature.  The writers talk about their influences, life, art and politics and their goals.  These interviews enrich a readers’ understanding of Latina literature and how it has grown over the years
English is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas by Coco Fusco
Fusco, in a series of essays, examines the works of Latina artists that have been born in the U.S. and how they relate to their culture versus their American identity.
When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
A memoir of a Puerto Rican childhood. Santiago reflects on her life, growing up in poverty in Puerto Rico.  The story continues as Santiago’s mother moves her brood of eleven children to New York where they start a new life and Santiago goes on to fulfill her dreams.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia
The story of three generations of Cuban women, who like the Garcia girls, find
themselves in exile during the 70’s and 80’s.  Narratives, monologues and love letters
tell the story of these women.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The story of a young Mexican-American girl, Esperanza, and her life on Mango Street
in Chicago.  Esperanza vows that one day she will leave this home and have a nice
home of her own.  The story follows her life as she grows up, finds her sexuality
and new ways of expressing herself.

Love in the Time of Chlorea by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
This well-known novel revolves around a Latina character and the idea that love is
ever enduring.  Love is looked at by Garcia Marquez as a disease compared only to
the malady of cholrea.

Name: Noreen


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