Aug 20, 11
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents is an intriguing exploration of cultural and generational conflicts. I read it because I loved "The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan. That novel made me feel intrigued by the notion of cultural clashes, and how children and parents deal with such conflicts.
Alvarez was able to create well-rounded characters who were interesting to me as a reader. I was really engrossed in the girl's journey to adjust to the culture shock of living in America. Some of the imagery in the novel was captivating. Alvarez really pulled me in; I could totally picture some of the events in the novel taking place. I also liked the device of starting in the present and working backwards to the girls' childhood. Each of the characters had a unique voice; they were all distinct and true to life.
I do wish that the book were a novel rather than a collection of short stories. I think that some of the characters deserved more "airtime". The book seemed more like a string of vignettes than a real story. As well rounded as the characters were, there were some, such as the mother, that I would like to have known more about. Even the girls could have been developed more. Some of the chapters/stories were a little boring, too.
Overall, if you are interested in how people adapt to new cultures, and the notion of intergenerational conflict, there will likely be something in this novel you will enjoy. It is well written and worth the time it will take to read it, even though it is slow in parts.