Purlewe's Reviews > When I Was Puerto Rican

When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
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Mar 11, 09

bookshelves: immigrant-stories
Read in December, 2008

** spoiler alert ** So last nite was the last nite of book club. We read When I was Puerto Rican and it was delish. I really loved it. But frankly, I loved ALL the books. And while it sounds silly.. I find that if I don't love a book I don't finish it instead of finishing it and then telling everyone I hated it.

It was interesting the way people discuss books tho. One woman who said this book was impossibly sad. Really? I didn't feel that way (incredibly neither did anyone else) and she said there was just so much poverty of course it was sad. The author didn't portray it as sadness.. in fact the author portrayed it as a fact of life. Food was scarce, times were hard. the end. And frankly the fact that she did have such fun shows that things do not have to be ideal to have fun. To find the book sad was a mystery to me.

I did not go to the last club b'c of the fire alarms and lack of sleep. I really loved Funny in Farsi. Glad I didn't go. NO ONE liked the book but me it sounds like. One woman said it was b'c she was writing for a white audience. WHAT? I have met people who are funny in a self depracting way and they are FUNNY. They are not doing it for the audience they are doing it b'c that is what they know how to do best. Funny in Farsi was funny b'c she told stories that are real and frankly that is why they are humourous. I know folks who write like that and I laugh out loud every time.

Everyone liked Puerto Rican tho. They felt it was the "most literary" um. what? I find that any published book that isn't supposed to be trash (and yes I read treash too) literary. It it ain't scribbles in the bathrom it seems to me to be a book.. then it is literature. Sometimes not good literature, but there you have it. I liked that the author was very visual. She described things in a way that I could relate to b'c I am a very visual person. Most people no adays are visual.. hence why I think most people liked it.

I was sad that there were very few people there last nite. 10 people? we started out with like 40. I know it was raining.. and frankly the people who came except 2 were people who got on my very last nerve. But really? only 1/4 of the folks showed up. I loved all the books tho and plan on continuing to read what is now called "creative non-fiction" It was sometimes is called memoire, but since Angela's Ashes it blends non-fiction and biography together.
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