Thursday, April 7, 2011
Book Review:How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
Julia Alvarez, a Dominican-American author is well-known for her beautifully-written novels that deal with themes of assimilation, identity, cultural change and cultural stereotypes. Many of her texts are based on the lives of historical figures, such as In the Time of the Butterflies, a fictionalized account of the lives of the Mirabel sisters during Trujillo’s regime in the Dominican Republic.
Perhaps the most famous of her texts, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents tells the story of the four García Sisters, forced to flee the Dominican Republic due to their father’s activism against Trujillo’s regime. When the four sisters arrive in New York City, they are faced with the myriad issues that come with coming of age in a brand new culture – whether and to what extent to assimilate and how to maintain both their US-American and Dominican identities.
The novel is comprised of a number of interconnected short stories, each told from the point of view of one of the four sisters. The stories are told in reverse chronological order, tracing back 30 years of the family’s history. A blend of family narrative, coming of age novel, and political history, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents is a whirlwind of a novel.
“Poignant…powerful…beautifully captures the threshold of experience of the new immigrant, where the past is not yet a memory.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Tender and charming, the writing is charged with a poetic intensity that is truly original.” – The Miami Herald
“Alvarez constructs the narrative beautifully and plays with the idea of time to reconstruct the ideal past” -Omaris Zamora, UChicago Student