The Agüero Sisters

by Cristina Garcia

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Student Question

Can you recommend Hispanic-American novels dealing with language, bilingualism, or linguistic assimilation?

I've read: How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accent by J. Alvarez, Days of Awe by A. Obejas, & Raining Backwards by R. Fernandez.

Expert Answers

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When I Was Puerto Rican Esmeralda Santiago is a memoir of the author's experiences on the island of Puerto Rico and the transition that she had to make when moving to New York City.  She tackles the topics of bilingualism and assimilation in her story.

Even better is Judith Cofer Ortiz's Silent Dancing:  A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood.  In this memoir, Ortiz moves back and forth between her childhood in Puerto Rico and her transition to New Jersey.

In the realm of fiction, Yo! by Julia Alvarez is the sequel to How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and continues Yolanda's story. 

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The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, is a collection of episodes in a young Mexican-American girl's life as she is caught between two cultures.

Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories is Cisneros's 1991 collection of stories characterizing Mexican Americans living in San Antonio, Texas. The book explores the process of socialization and cultural assimilation of Mexicans and Mexican Americans into American society.

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