Growing Up Chicana/o
Tiffany Ana Lopez has collected stories about what it is like to grow up Chicana/o in the United States, and to belong to a large ethnic group whose culture and history was for many years ignored by mainstream American culture. As writer Rudolpho Anaya says in the book’s foreword, these stories weave a creative history of Mexican American culture and illustrate the great diversity of Chicano life.
The theme of growing up, a universal theme in literature, unites these stories in an intense and emotional search for identity and the meaning of community. In “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros, a schoolgirl maintains her dignity despite a teacher’s insensitive allegation. Thelma Reyna describes the pain of becoming a child of divorce an era when divorce was considered scandalous, and she examines the father/daughter relationship in “Una Edad Muy Tierna, M’ija.” Gary Soto describes a boy’s sudden freedom and subsequent encounters in his autobiographical story “The Bike.” In “The McCoy Hotel,” Denise Chavez creates a symbolic place where she explores the bonds between a single mother of three and her grown daughters.
Lopez has carefully arranged the stories by theme in this collection. It begins with the section “La Historia: Journeys in the Borderlands,” and continues with “From the Veins of Los Abuelos,” “La Tierra y la Escuela: From Where We Learn,” and the final section, “Passages: We Who Are Not as Others.” Her very wide and creative selection of writers will please those who are familiar with Chicano literature and intrigue those who are new to the work. Other featured writers include Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Rudolfo Anaya, Alberto Alvaro Rios, Mary Helen Ponce, and Francisco Jimenez.