Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros

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Every year, Ceyala "Lala" Reyes' family--aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, and Lala's six older brothers--packs up three cars and, in a wild ride, drive from Chicago to the Little Grandfather and Awful Grandmother's house in Mexico City for the summer. Struggling to find a voice above the boom of her brothers and to understand her place on this side of the border and that, Lala is a shrewd observer of family life. But when she starts telling the Awful Grandmother's life story, seeking clues to how she got to be so awful, grandmother accuses Lala of exaggerating. Soon, a multigenerational family narrative turns into a whirlwind exploration of storytelling, lies, and life. Like the cherished rebozo, or shawl, that has been passed down through generations of Reyes women, Caramelo is alive with the vibrations of history, family, and love.


About Sandra Cisneros

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Sandra Cisneros is the author of two highly celebrated novels, The House on Mango Street and Caramelo. Her awards include National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the Lannan Literary Award, the American Book Award, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Other books include the story collection Woman Hollering Creek; two books of poetry; and two books of children's literature. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages. Cisneros is the founder of the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral and Macondo Foundations, which serve creative writers. Ester Hernández is an internationally acclaimed visual artist whose work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Library of Congress, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo in Mexico City. She lives in San Francisco.
Published April 30, 2013 by Vintage. 464 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Children's Books, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Caramelo

Kirkus Reviews

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A sprawling family saga with a zesty Mexican-American accent from Cisneros, author of, most recently, Woman Hollering Creek (1991).

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Caramelo

Publishers Weekly

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"Uncle Fat-Face's brand-new used white Cadillac, Uncle Baby's green Impala, Father's red Chevrolet station wagon"—the parade of cars that ushers in Cisneros's first n

Aug 12 2002 | Read Full Review of Caramelo

Publishers Weekly

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With the ability to make listeners laugh out loud with her humor, get lumps in their throats with her poignancy and leave them thinking about her characters long after they've hit the stop butt

Mar 03 2003 | Read Full Review of Caramelo

The Guardian

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Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros 447 pp, Bloomsbury, £16.99 Sandra Cisneros spent her childhood suspended between worlds.

Dec 21 2002 | Read Full Review of Caramelo

Publishers Weekly

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Her sweeping tale of the Reyes family, with the charmingly innocent Lala Reyes at its center, moves from 1920s Mexico City and Acapulco to 1950s Chicago, all the while grounding the family's whimsical events with "notes" to help readers understand the greater significance of, say, a nightclub sin...

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Publishers Weekly

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The sensitive and observant Lala feels lost in the noisy shuffle, but she inherits the family stories from her grandmother, who comes from a clan of shawl makers and throughout her life has kept her mother's unfinished striped shawl, or caramelorebozo, containing all the heartache and joy of her ...

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Star Tribune

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Review: This sweeping novel delivers on all the promise of Cisneros' earlier books with a plot that weaves between Mexico and the United States, and across the decades, to tell the story of three generations of a Mexican-American family.

Nov 02 2002 | Read Full Review of Caramelo

Book Reporter

This is Lala's story, first and foremost, but it's also the story of so many other things --- of growing up in two cultures, of growing up in general, of family life and daily upheaval, of class and racial strife.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Caramelo

Booklist Online

But there’s good news—by subscribing today, you will receive 22 issues of Booklist magazine, 4 issues of Book Links, and single-login access to Booklist Online and over 160,000 reviews.

Feb 06 2013 | Read Full Review of Caramelo

Suite 101

Rhoda and Samuel each have problems but together they could be successful..

Sep 29 2008 | Read Full Review of Caramelo


Vivid, funny, imaginative, historical and ultimately unforgettable, Cisneros' novel is destined to become a classic novel of the enduring nature of family.

Apr 07 2015 | Read Full Review of Caramelo


As the three generations of the Reyes family journey between Mexico and the U.S., the most mundane of scenes springs to life: On an Acapulco holiday, "all the smells swirl together.

Oct 14 2002 | Read Full Review of Caramelo

Asian Review of Books

With these words from a famous song by Julio Iglesias (actually from Agustin
Lara a half-century earlier), Sandra Cisneros begins Caramelo, her first novel in ...

Nov 16 2002 | Read Full Review of Caramelo

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