A space to reflect on my readings and musings, scattered and rescattered


When I Was Puerto Rican

I started reading Esmeralda Santiago's memoir When I Was Puerto Rican on my way to salsa class last night. By the time I gotten home, I'd read about 40 pages! I loved it and couldn't put it down. For once, I was grateful for a long train ride. The first couple of chapters are so beautiful and lovely, telling stories about her experiences in Puerto Rico as a little girl living in a farming community. The prologue--How to Eat a Guava--was incredibly innocent and pastoral. Esmeralda seemed like such a happy little girl who ate green guavas even before they were ripe and regularly ended up with stomach aches. But as I read on, the tone began to change, Negi (short for Negrita, Esmeralda's nickname signifying her dark skin as a baby) became less innocent. She experienced more of the world and she began to deal with the pain of her parents' constant fighting as well as a lot of moving around--back and forth from city to country. I'm not sure what's up next about Negi's life but I'm looking forward to reading the passionate, beautiful prose, even if it is getting a little bit darker and less light and free. I suppose that means it's more real.


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