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A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,286 ratings  ·  168 reviews
A coming-of-age memoir by a Colombian-Cuban woman about shaping lessons from home into a new, queer life

In this lyrical, coming-of-age memoir, Daisy Hernández chronicles what the women in her Cuban-Colombian family taught her about love, money, and race. Her mother warns her about envidia and men who seduce you with pastries, while one tía bemoans that her niece is
Hardcover, 185 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Beacon Press
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I always was (and remain) deeply envious of kids who grew up bilingual, who had parents at home who spoke something more interesting than English. Those kids always seemed so lucky, getting two languages -- and two cultures! -- for the price of one.

A Cup of Water Under My Bed is about that experience -- of being bilingual, and bicultural -- and about the complexity of what's anything but a simple two-for-one deal. Growing up in Union City, NJ in a working-class Colombian and Cuban family, Daisy
2014: what a year for bisexual memoirs by people of colour! Among the fabulous Lambda award nominees fitting this category—including Fire Shut Up in My by Charles M. Blow, which I also highly recommend—is A Cup of Water Under My Bed by Daisy Hernández. Don’t both of those have amazing, intriguing titles? I simply loved Hernández’s book, on so many levels, for both its form and content.

It’s a memoir, but, interestingly, not structured linearly. Instead, Hernández arranges the material of her life
Found a lot to relate to in this lyrical and poignant collection of stories by Daisy Hernandez. Hernandez weaves multiple narrative strands together: stories of her parents' and their siblings emigration from Colombia and Cuba; of the ravages of colonialism on language, culture, and community; of compromise, negotiation, and syncretism between the faith and culture of the colonizers and the beliefs and traditions slaves brought with them to the Americas and transformed (often by necessity); of ...more
Nov 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There are so many things I want to say about this book, but much of it is too close to my heart to attempt to express. Daisy Hernandez has written something I wish I'd had about 20 years ago. She looks honestly at the many aspects of her life that have influenced who she is, and who she wants to be. I wish we had more narratives like this complex one.

Although the quote below will not encompass the whole of the book in any way, I particularly loved this passage (even if I identify more with bell
Danielle Mootz
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I feel blessed to read a novel that compells me to set it down, take a deep breath and just absorb the profound way it has hit to the core of ME, and my experiences but this memoir made me do this half a dozen times. Beautiful writing. Amazing truth. I too refuse be undone.
Audrey Laurey
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great memoir of Daisy Hernández growing up as a first generation Cuban immigrant in America. An effortlessly enjoyable read where you can feel and see the Santeria mysticism, hear the language, and smell the food. I loved the family dynamic, and the way Daisy writes about her experiences, told in concurrent stories and essays.
Kathleen Harold
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Beautifully written memoir. I wish everyone would read it to expand their heart and understanding just a bit.
In lieu of an articulate review of this amazing memoir, here is part of a very long, crappy, semi-autobiographical poem I wrote about it when I was an undergrad.
Belt freezes tag, roasts bones.
Loves girl flesh best.

His banquets are epic
When propelled by men
Who ain’t ya damn daddy!
Lithe ,sleek, he nips at knees, feet, calves, shoulder blades.
Bites the deepest where people don’t see.
Gorges, slurps, licks his plate clean.

Making studies of tiles and toes,
I Shamble from one moment, one room, one
Scarllet ✦ Underrated Lit Warrior
And it is hard, I imagine, for people who have not experienced this to understand the weight of that silence and how the absence of language can feel like a death.
There's just something about reading a memoir that reaffirms who you are and where you come from.. Like yes, we are from different places and have different upbringings but there are so many similarities.

There are different threads within her beautifully lyrical story that connects to her past and to her present & I thought it was
Sarah H
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Memories are like thread. They can be tugged and loosened and stitched in different directions." I LOVED THIS BOOK! I'm so glad I own it. I bought it on a whim on a Goodreads daily deal and I'm glad I took the chance. Her writing is so lyrical. The way she compares her experiences or thoughts to other things is so beautiful! She jumps back and forth in time but it works really well. I enjoyed hearing about her life growing up and how she saw/sees the world. Her life was very interesting to me, ...more
Sylwia (Wish Fulfillment)
More like a 3.9 but I'm rounding up out of respect. Review to come!
Sam Orndorff
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sam by: Carmen
At first I told my friend this is a warrior writer. Her words are potent, fatal, each one is studied and delicately placed in that spot between engaged writer-who-cares and distanced, honest recorder. She succeeds to both ends. This book is a strong case for the feminist as every woman, and very expert in the personal-as-political style. It's a very raw and very matter of fact set of tales that make beautiful truths in the wake of the complicated and disturbing.

Every story consists of concrete
An awesome memoir about growing up a bisexual Colombian-Cuban American. The exploration of navigating borders and borderlands, about making choices that understand/respect and reflect on the past while also allowing for the freedom of newness and challenge, and the insights about people and the lives they live externally and internally are all really great. Even though they were the toughest to read, I thought the chapters about Hernandez's father and his secret life, the depths of who he is, ...more
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographical
I enjoyed the way Hernandez compared her two cultures and contrasted them against this upper class educated -mostly white culture she begins to work and live around while feeling somewhat as being undercover, thinking deep to herself that she did not belong, that they would find her out as if her family and her had not worked hard enough to earn her place in society. This memoir was so entertaining and insightful about an individual's intersectionalities.
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fluid writing that navigates the space between Spanish and English, queer and straight, woman and man ... the list goes on.
Dedria A.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the very effective ways I have developed for keeping up with working writers is to buy the books of faculty of the writers' conferences I attend and to read the books of the judges of this and that competition. I have found some interesting writers this way. My latest is Daisy Hernandez, a Columbian-Cuba woman.
Hernandez was educated in the Catholic schools in her New Jersey neighborhood and everyone knows how technically excellent that mode of schooling can be. Then she went on to become
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rhythmic Prose

Beautifully written, like one long love letter. Really powerful metaphors - pulls you in like she's telling you a secret and you read promising to keep these secrets safe. This is sacred ground and you are a guest. Honor this memoir - be a witness.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it
3,5 stars

this was really good and also really different in the writing style compared to anything i have ever written. it was episodes of her life growing up and then jumping back and fourth in the timeline which at times could be confusing but then in the end everything makes sense.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hernandez weaves words in a unique and effective fashion. She shares a perspective often neglected and offers an honest glimpse into a world many of us never experience. I found myself reading it more for her gift of writing than for the story.
Aug 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, ebooks
The American culture richly combines with Colombian/Latino culture "Spanglish", in this expressive "A Cup of Water Under MY Bed: A Memoir" authored by Daisy Hernandez- (DH).

With her mother immigrating from Colombia, DH father left Cuba in 1961, and (1982) settled in Union City, N.Y. where she was raised. Working in the textile manufacturing plants for decades, DH relates the hardship and difficulty of her parents/laborers who had to transition from manufacturing to a service economy, when the
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt, autobigraphies
" Writing is how I leave my family, and how I take them with me"
from "A Cup of Water Under My Bed" by Daisy Hernandez

This quote describes how the author, who chooses a career as a writer, diverges away from the traditional ways of her Colombian and Cuban family heritage. She is encouraged however, as the family believes that this talent of writing will lead her to the life that they want for her without the hardships that they've had to encounter. Along the way, as Hernandez comes of age, she
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
I recieved this book by winning it in a giveaway and i am so ecstatic that i won this specific novel, because of how good it is. If you love sandra cisneros you'll love Daisy Hernandez. Her memoir was so well written and I couldnt put it down. I literally read this in one day. In the novel we follow Daisy's memories of her as a young child in a catholic school to a grown woman who's more interested in her sexuality and her family. I think what made me love this more is that she is from North ...more
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Twelve million estrellas. This is not so much a memoir, starting at a child and running chronologically through somebody's life. Instead, it's a series of stories that illustrate different points about immigration and language and family and race. There's an additional wrinkle that the author identifies as bisexual so there's some fascinating interplay around sexuality and immigration and traditional expectations.
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was a stretch for me in many ways. At first glance it would seem I would have little in common with an angry, feminist, bisexual child of Colombian and Cuban immigrants. But Hernandez' strong voice drew me in; her way of exploring her memories was irresistible. I'm very glad I read this book.
I absolutely loved this book. the author writes about navigating the intersectionality between religion, orientation, race. Not only that but it also tells about her experiences working with white folks as a queer, latina. I'm not doing it much justice but seriously read this book.
One of the best memoirs I have read.
Also, she has a cat named Zami and thanks her in the acknowledgements.
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Personal is Political - and Also Poetic in Hernández's Deft Hands

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing's Early Reviewers program. Trigger warning for child abuse.)

Journalism: A fancy word to say that I spent days with my hands in other people's stories, asking and telling, because nothing happens in isolation, especially when it has to do with language. Nothing is more vulnerable than the words in our mouths, because nothing has more power.

Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm a huge fan of Daisy Hernandez, so I am not surprised that this was such a great read.
Leylamaría Nikfarjam
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“‘If only I knew English. . .’ my mother starts, and then her voice trails because none of us, not her, not even La Tía Chuchi, who knows everything about everyone, knows what would happen if only my mother knew English. I am the one who is supposed to find out.
But to make that leap, to be the first in a family to leave for another language hurts. It’s not a broken arm kind of hurt. It’s not abrupt like that. It’s gradual. It is like a parasite, a bug crawling in your stomach that no one else
My Takeaway

“Generally speaking, gay people come out of the closet, straight people walk around the closet, and bisexuals have to be told to look for the closet. We are too preoccupied with shifting.”
Daisy Hernández, A Cup of Water Under My Bed

A Cup of Water Under My Bed was chosen by my book club at work (lovingly named El Barrio Book Club). The memoir was heartfelt, witty, honest and full of sentiment. I truly enjoyed the vivid vignettes Hernández's provided throughout the book. I found myself
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