Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 187
American Chica by Maria Arana is a memoir about Arana growing up in two cultures and what that meant for her. Her parents had a difficult marriage, and Arana ended up growing up in both the United States and Peru. American Chica examines the way culture contributes to the people we become, the decisions we make, and the way we live our lives.
Arana’s mother is American and her father is Peruvian. During her time in the two countries, she is exposed to vastly different worlds. Despite the contrast between her time in Peru, where she is encouraged to behave properly, and her adolescence spent in Wisconsin and New Jersey, where she learns things like how to shoot a gun, Arana has found a way to transition easily. That’s not to say it was always easy to do so; growing up with such a difference between two worlds required an adjustment which she was able to see more clearly later on. American Chica looks at how we identify with culture, and how we can come to accept a more fluid look at who we are.