When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
A Memoir (A Merloyd Lawrence Book)

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Synopsis

Esmeralda Santiago's story begins in rural Puerto Rico, where her childhood was full of both tenderness and domestic strife, tropical sounds and sights as well as poverty. Growing up, she learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of tree frogs in the mango groves at night, the taste of the delectable sausage called morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby's soul to heaven. As she enters school we see the clash, both hilarious and fierce, of Puerto Rican and Yankee culture. When her mother, Mami, a force of nature, takes off to New York with her seven, soon to be eleven children, Esmeralda, the oldest, must learn new rules, a new language, and eventually take on a new identity. In this first volume of her much-praised, bestselling trilogy, Santiago brilliantly recreates the idyllic landscape and tumultuous family life of her earliest years and her tremendous journey from the barrio to Brooklyn, from translating for her mother at the welfare office to high honors at Harvard.
 

About Esmeralda Santiago

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Esmeralda Santiago is the author of two memoirs, When I Was Puerto Rican and The Turkish Lover, and the novel Conquistadora. A resident of Westchester County, New York, she is married to filmmaker Frank Cantor and is the mother of two adult children, jazz guitarists Lucas and Ila.
 
Published February 28, 2006 by Da Capo Press. 289 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Children's Books. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for When I Was Puerto Rican

Publishers Weekly

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Santiago's artful memoir recounts her childhood in rural Puerto Rico and her teenage years in New York City; also available in a Spanish-language edition, $11 *-75677-9 (Aug.)

Oct 03 1994 | Read Full Review of When I Was Puerto Rican: A Me...

Entertainment Weekly

WHEN I WAS PUERTO RICAN WHEN I WAS PUERTO RICAN Esmeralda Santiago (Addison-Wesley, $20) Esmeralda Santiago's spicy, grim, funny memoirs present one girl's Puerto Rico.

Oct 01 1993 | Read Full Review of When I Was Puerto Rican: A Me...

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