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The Meaning of Consuelo
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The Meaning of Consuelo

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  439 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The Signe family is blessed with two daughters. Consuelo, the elder, is thought of as pensive and book-loving, the serious child-la niña seria-while Mili, her younger sister, is seen as vivacious, a ray of tropical sunshine. Two daughters: one dark, one light; one to offer comfort and consolation, the other to charm and delight. But, for all the joy both girls should bring ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 30th 2004 by Beacon Press (first published 2003)
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Irene
I really liked this book. Judith Ortiz Cofer captured the voice and thoughts of a young girl and then a young woman, coming of age, grappling with the responsibilities of having to meet tragedy head on. I liked the "realness" of their family life and also, how Puerto Rico was depicted. Well done culturally and language wise.
Rachel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sheryl Sorrentino
The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer is both a stunning tribute to the island of Puerto Rico (and something of an indictment of U.S. development and its negative impact on the island’s culture and natural splendor) and a deeply affecting story of one family’s heartbreaking misfortune (the mental instability suffered by the family’s beautiful younger daughter, Mili). The story is told by Mili’s older sister, Consuelo, who is charged with keeping an eye on her sibling from the time they a ...more
Kristen Scelonge
Grade/Interest Level: Middle School (Grades 6-8)
Reading Level: no Lexile Level available
Genre: Multicultural Literature

Main Characters:Consuelo and Mili (sisters)
Setting:Puerto Rico and the United States of America
POV:Consuelo

This story is centered around is the Signe family who are Puerto Rican and have two daughters named Consuelo and Mili. The two daughters are polar opposites. Consuelo, the older daughter is thought of to be a book worm, consistently in deep serious thought, and more intelli
...more
Ruth
This novel is set in Puerto Rico, & the island itself functions as a character, with its uneasy relationship with the United States. The story of Consuelo's family, & the tragedia that builds up at its core, could even be read as a sort of allegory of Puerto Rico.

I'm not quite satisfied with the story's ending; I won't provide any spoilers, but Consuelo's individuation seems to be undertaken at a very high cost that is not taken seriously enough. Unless indeed the book is read as a tragi
...more
Yennie
For some reason, I thought this book sounded like Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson, and I suppose there are similarities in the relationship between the two sisters. There's even mention of Jergens lotion in both books, weirdly enough. This book, however, delves into female identity across generations more than between siblings and provides an interesting look at gender roles in Puerto Rican culture.

I'm not sold on it as YA, though, since this is more of a look back on youth by an older
...more
Karen
This was a wonderful story of one Puerto Rican girl's story that resembled my own and differed so greatly. Cofer is a great storyteller and she reminds the reader that "to try to understand your story you have to read it backward, each scene examined from the end to the beginning for there to be any sense of narrative. The plot is the last thing you invent" (p180).
Bellavida
Once I started I couldn't put it down. I just had to find out what would happen next. The story is interesting and unique.
Cambrai
The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
Rating: ****
Bookshelves: ENGL 420
Status: Read in September
Review:
Cofer tells the story of Consuelo, a Puerto Rican fifteen-year-old girl trying to discover the meaning of her life and relationships in 1950s Puerto Rico. Consuelo feels torn at home: her father encourages modern American living while her mother defends traditional Puerto Rican culture and her baby sister develops into a mentally challenged and emotionally unstable young girl. Consuelo
...more
Briana Mae (TheBookBuddies)
Actual Rating: 2.5


Although, this book wasn't my usual cup of tea it was very interesting. It gave an interesting perspective and narrative of the Puerto Rican culture from a girl who's desperate to become a woman in her family, but at the same time be someone more than what her family expects of her. The book is truly a coming of age story and it was interesting to see Consuelo's life progress in the timeline of the degradation of her sister's mind/family's life. Also, I love how sassy she got a
...more
Melissa
A young Puerto Rican girl, Consuelo, tells stories about her family and neighborhood and about taking care of her outgoing younger sister. Her best friend is her oddball male cousin who moves to New York City with his father. While her whole family focuses on her adulterous father and socially stunted sister, Consuelo falls between the cracks. I felt heartbroken for Consuelo and frustrated with her distracted parents and cruel classmates. It was well written and interesting, but not one that wil ...more
Hilary
I read this in the Fall for my Latino kid/YA class, and ended up writing my final paper on it, which was then accepted for a conference, so I guess I was able to convincingly muster up enough enthusiasm for it. It is a difficult read at times because of the nature of the plot, but I appreciated its honesty and realism. It pushes some boundaries for the YA genre (without being inappropriate), but I would recommend it to anyone looking to add some female characters or multicultural authors/stories ...more
Stephni
Super quick read, classic coming of age story in which generations conflict in the face of societal changes. I felt the story skimmed the surface of these characters lives. I could have felt more sympathy for Consuelo but wasn't really moved.
Brenda
I like the idea of this novel, and the novel when I look at it as a whole. However, the use of LGBTQ issues and mental health issues as props in the protagonist's story rubbed me the wrong way and kept me from enjoying it entirely.
Jess
I read this book for my mid-term paper and I was just blown away. Judith Ortiz Cofer did an amazing job with this book. I really enjoyed this novel and I was extremely touched by Consuelo’s perseverance. A must read.
Donna
This book is not really poorly written, but I just didn't care for it. Too many disconnected descriptions and not enough connection to the narrator, Consuelo. She just never seemed real to me.
Sarah
This book hit too close to home on so many levels. The elements of the sufreida is a classic heroine tale among Puerto Rican women. The book was such a great read and made me homesick.
Doodi Al
I am very disappointed with this book. The story line did not have much substance. It is cleverly written but that is about it. Do not expect more of the book.
Kathryn
Slow moving coming of age story that was not very interesting. Saw little relationship between the sisters or between her and her friends.
Aimee Mansfield
It's interesting as far as showing the Puerto Rican culture, but too slow-paced and some frustrating characters.
Arielena
it helped me understand my puerto rican culture a bit more. and it described the typical puerto rican life
Meg Petersen
This started out slowly and I had a hard time getting into it, but I ended up really liking it.
Emma
Emma marked it as to-read
Apr 19, 2015
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Judith Ortiz Cofer (born in 1952) is a Puerto Rican author. Her work spans a range of literary genres including poetry, short stories, autobiography, essays, and young-adult fiction.

Judith Ortiz Cofer was born in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico, on February 24, 1952. She moved to Paterson, New Jersey with her family in 1956. They often made back-and-forth trips between Paterson and Hormigueros. In 1967,
...more
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