When I Was Puerto Rican: A Memoir Spiral-Bound | February 28, 2006
★★★★☆+ from 10,001 to 50,000 ratings
When I Was Puerto Rican: A Memoir
“[Santiagos] story is painful at points, funny in others, but it speaks a universal truth: We never totally leave our past behind.”
Teen Ink, 4/09
“It shows you the trials that immigrants face when they move to the United States, including the many differences in language and culture…Perfect for those who like books that have real meaning.”
One of "The Best Memoirs of a Generation" (Oprah's Book Club): a young woman's journey from the mango groves and barrios of Puerto Rico to Brooklyn, and eventually on to Harvard
In a childhood full of tropical beauty and domestic strife, poverty and tenderness, Esmeralda Santiago learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of tree frogs, the taste of morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby's soul to heaven. But when her mother, Mami, a force of nature, takes off to New York with her seven, soon to be eleven children, Esmeralda, the oldest, must learn new rules, a new language, and eventually a new identity. In the first of her three acclaimed memoirs, Esmeralda brilliantly recreates her tremendous journey from the idyllic landscape and tumultuous family life of her earliest years, to translating for her mother at the welfare office, and to high honors at Harvard.