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

How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
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's review
Jan 26, 2010

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How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez inversely chronicles the changes one Dominican family endures on their adventures from the Republic to America during the late 60’s forwards. We first jump into the life of Yolanda during 1989 as she revisits her native island which is so dear to her, meeting up with her distant family. Through all the chaos that ensues throughout the novel, I became slowly lost at points as Alvarez jumped from one point to the next, using flashbacks, foreshadowing the past as the story went back in time.

The characters she introduced, including the four main sisters, Carla, Yolanda, Sandra, and Sofia, do not develop fully develop personalities, their values become skewed, and only slightly refined as they enter their childhood towards the end. If Alvarez chose to closely follow the storyline of one of the Garcia girl's as opposed to all four, a deeper bond could be born between reader and story.

With passages such as “She ran her tongue in the whorls of his ear and nibbled at the tip,” Alvarez touches on sensitive subjects such as borderline incest, pedophilic situations, and overall culture assimilation. Through all these experiences, it feels awkward and uncomfortable because of the distance from these characters.

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