Tracy's Reviews > How the García Girls Lost Their Accents

How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
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Mar 20, 08

Read in March, 2008

Julia Alvarez wrote one of my favorite essays in "Why I'm Still Married" so I was really excited when I found a copy of this book for $0.50 at tha library book sale. I read it on my way to Tucson last week, so I already latin food and culture on my mind!

I really liked the way this book moved backwards in time, working its way from Yolanda's trip back to the Dominican Republic in the 1990's to her childhood on the island in the 1960's. For the most part, I enjoyed the book, but I thought it lacked detail and development for a few of the characters. I didn't understand why Sandi developed an eating disorder later in life, why most of the girls had bad marriages or why Yolanda had a nervous breakdown. I would have preferred the book to focus solely on Yolanda and be told entirely from her perspective. That would have made the lack of detail a little more acceptable. For the most part, the voices of the four girls were very similar, making it difficult to fall in love with or hate any one of them. I was neither attached nor angry, which makes for a pretty mediocre read.

Still, I would like to read more of Alvarez's work and have added "In the Time of Butterflies" to my "to read" list. Of course as soon as I finished I had to pull out my old journal from 1999 and re-read my entries from the time I spent in the Dominican. Presidente, beans and rice, the little girl who loved my barettes, Mariella and her gorgeous family, and creepy old men who wanted to dance the merengue with us... What memories!

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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Gabriel Joseph (new)

Gabriel Joseph thanks for the imput. now i have to get it.


Meghan I agree that I too would have liked for it to focus on Yolanda. The girls seemed to mesh into one persona, which makes sense since they all complained about being known as "the girls" all the time. Still, it was hard to finish it because I didn't care enough about any of them.


message 3: by Leslie (new)

Leslie I spent 1970-74 in the Dominican Republic and have the similar memories ... especially of rice and beans.


message 4: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim I think focusing on Yolanda would have been a good choice as well. I did enjoy the character development within the chapters though. I mean 20-something Yolanda was much different than 8-year-old Yolanda. I liked the way that the girls hopes and desires-what they valued as important-changed so much as they "lost their accents."


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