How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

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Synopsis

“Simply wonderful.” —Los Angeles Times
 
Acclaimed writer Julia Alvarez’s brilliant and buoyant and beloved first novel gives voice to four sisters recounting their adventures growing up in two cultures. Selected as a Notable Book by both the New York Times and the American Library Association, it won the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for books with a multicultural perspective and was chosen by New York librarians as one of twenty-one classics for the twenty-first century. Ms. Alvarez was recently honored with the 2013 National Medal of Arts for her extraordinary storytelling. 

In this debut novel, the García sisters—Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía—and their family must flee their home in the Dominican Republic after their father’s role in an attempt to overthrow a tyrannical dictator is discovered. They arrive in New York City in 1960 to a life far removed from their existence in the Caribbean. In the wild and wondrous and not always welcoming U.S.A., their parents try to hold on to their old ways, but the girls try find new lives: by forgetting their Spanish, by straightening their hair and wearing fringed bell bottoms. For them, it is at once liberating and excruciating to be caught between the old world and the new. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents sets the sisters free to tell their most intimate stories about how they came to be at home—and not at home—in America.
 
“A joy to read.” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer
 

About Julia Alvarez

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Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. She is the author of six novels, two books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eight books for children and young adults. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including a Latina Leader Award in Literature in 2007 from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the 2002 Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the2000 Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library's 1996 program "The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, from John Donne to Julia Alvarez." A writer-in-residence at Middlebury College, Alvarez and her husband, Bill Eichner, established Alta Gracia, an organic coffee farm-literacy arts center, in her homeland, the Dominican Republic.
 
Published January 12, 2010 by Algonquin Books. 334 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, Education & Reference. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Kirkus Reviews

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Told through the points of view of the four Garcia sisters- Carla, Sandi, Yolanda and Sofia-this perceptive first novel by poet Alvarez tells of a wealthy family exiled from the Dominican Republic after a failed coup, and how the daughters come of age, weathering the cultural and class transition...

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of How the Garcia Girls Lost The...

Publishers Weekly

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Fifteen tales vividly chronicle a Dominican family's exile in the Bronx, focusing on the four Garcia daughters' rebellion against their immigrant elders.

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Publishers Weekly

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While the narrators (Blanca Camacho, Anne Henk, Annie Kosuch, Melanie Martinez and Noemi de la Puente) are never distinct enough for listeners to affix specific voices to characters, the book's title is illustrated perfectly by their flawless, accent-free English that switches smoothly to Spanish...

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Los Angeles Times

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Julia Alvarez's first novel, "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents," is the story of the Garcia de la Torres family, a doctor and his wife and four daughters who flee their island home in the Dominican Republic after a failed coup in the late 1950s and move to New York to take up life as Ameri...

Jun 07 1991 | Read Full Review of How the Garcia Girls Lost The...

Oregon Live

Yolanda's doomed marriage to a man who doesn't understand poetry is made more bittersweet because of her sisters' kindness, and a memory of a swaggering college boy trying to seduce Yolanda is shared with much laughter.

Mar 27 2010 | Read Full Review of How the Garcia Girls Lost The...

Variety

The play is likely to enjoy a healthy life entertaining audiences of every stripe, but particularly those of Latin American descent, who have become U.S. theater's most coveted new demographic.Set, Milagros Ponce de Leon;

Sep 23 2008 | Read Full Review of How the Garcia Girls Lost The...

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