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We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This?: Stories
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We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This?: Stories

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  238 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Achy Obejas writes stories about uprooted people. Some, like herself, are Latino immigrants and lesbians; others are men (gay and straight), people with AIDS, addicts, people living marginally, just surviving. As omniscient narrator to her characters' lives, Obejas generously delves into her own memories of exile and alienation to tell stories about women and men who strug ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published August 16th 1994 by Cleis Press
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Title: We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This?
Author: Achy Obejas
Genre: Short story collection
Setting: Various parts of the United States.
Reason for Reading: 50 book project, book 30! Definitely over the hump!
Relevance to the Project: This is my first re-read for the project. I realized about halfway through that I had read this in college. (This is back when I had access to an electronic catalogue for book ordering for the very first time and I was just ordering everything
I liked the intersectionality of the Cuban-American and lesbian angles in this collection of short stories by Achy Obejas. I unconsciously expected all the stories to be from a Latina lesbian's point of view, but there were a few about gay men, too. I think my favorites, though, were the first and the last, which may have been among the more autobiographical of the the pieces. The first one had a great, snappy, sarcastic narrative voice, and the last captured the poignance of an immigrant experi ...more
Maria Elena
Sep 02, 2008 Maria Elena rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Maria Elena by: American Women Writers of Color Conference
The title story is stunning and a wonderful study for my own writing. But my favorite is the first piece, 'Wrecks,' altogether hilarious, sad, exhilirating and anxious. (How'd she do that?)

The stories in this collection are engaging and really challenged me as I read. I kept thinking, "Why does everyone have to be gay, just because she's gay," at once testing why heterosexuals always write about straight people. This is the first time I've read 'Lesbian/Gay Studies' work, and something in me fe
the last two stories really touched me. i love reading about identity and how people struggle to understand themselves in the context in which they are situated. achy's is particularly interesting because her family came to the U.S. as political exiles from Cuba so she's got the assimilation factor going on and she's a lesbian. her stories are glimpses into her reality as a political activist and feminist in the U.S. (Chicago, no less!) and her struggle to find love and companionship. I love gli ...more
Jun 16, 2008 Joan added it
Who could resist a book with a title like this? Not me. And I'm so glad I didn't. This was my introduction to Achy Obejas' work, other than reviews and columns for the Chicago Tribune. Cuban-born, Obejas came to this country as a young girl and was raised in Chicago. Like all writers, her life, as the daughter of immigrants, as a woman who loves women, as a struggling writer, becomes fodder for her work. She molds it well. Funny, sentimental, angry, all the things life makes you, are here.
I was introduced to this author when I had to xerox the entirety of one of her novels in my work-study job in the English department. The book was out of print and the internet wasn't quite up to the task of finding a whole used class set at the time (it was 1998).

This is Obejas's debut, and it is wonderfully diverse in its stories. Some verge on Lesbian erotica, while others intrigue my slightly homophobic urban teenaged and twenty-something students. Highly recommended to all.
Sean Hoskin
Incredibly heartfelt and hilarious tale of a immigrant Cuban family navigating life in the US with all the contentions which come between generations born elsewhere and those birthed natively. The books tells us what we already know: that loving family and blood relations is often an exercise in acceptance and caring for them where they are and not where we would desire them to be.
i'd love to give this book more than just 2 stars for "it was ok," but the truth is: it put me to sleep. and none of the imagery has stuck with me. now perhaps you're wondering why i didn't give it one star. well, i'm giving it the benefit of the doubt that perhaps it was the airplane that put me to sleep, and the cloudy air-travel mind is to blame for my forgetfulness.
Lovely, charming, funny, human stories of Cuban immigrants to the US. The book deals with themes of national identity, language, sexuality/sexual orientation, disease, and struggle. A range of short stories with characters that are at times shocking, at other times pathetic, at other times noble and at still other times totally, relatable human. Really beautiful stuff.
Jul 18, 2009 Oliver rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Oliver by: Colleen
I love this. It reminded me of all the lesbian short story books I used to read when I was a teen. It's not all lesbian stories, but it has that Cleis Press / Allyson Books feel to it. Not to mention it has the best book title I've ever heard of.
The last short story in this collection (also the title story) would be useful either in teaching about Cuban immigration or refugee status. Just be sure to choose excerpts since the novel does include some sexual descriptions.
Some of the best Chicago short stories ever. I think I learned a little bit how to be gay in the city from it. My desires for not-so-distant queer history may have started here.
First story: Cadillac
Last story: We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This
Oren Whightsel
this is a great book to read AND a wonderful text to teach in an undergrad class.
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Achy Obejas is the award-winning author of Days of Awe, Memory Mambo and We Came all the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This? Her poems, stories and essays have appeared in dozens of anthologies, including Akashic's Chicago Noir. A long time contributor to the Chicago Tribune, she was part of the 2001 investigative team that earned a Pulitzer Prize for the series, “Gateway to Gridlock.” Her ...more
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