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DOMINICANA, Latinx Heritage Month, Book 3 Fifteen year old Ana moves from t…

2 min read

DOMINICANA, @writercruz
Latinx Heritage Month, Book 3

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Fifteen year old Ana moves from the Dominican Republic to New York with her new, temperamental scoundrel of a husband, 32 year old Juan. “Dominicana” explores themes around the immigrant experience, zeroing in on the lie of the American Dream and the pressure on immigrant children who are forced to grow up.

Angie Cruz knocked me off my feet with this one. There were so many moments when I wanted to jump into the book and give Ana a hug. I cried for her when she was betrayed, I winced whenever Juan entered the same room, I cheered for her when she stood up for herself. The examination of the American Dream hit so close to home. Though my own immigration story is very different from Ana’s, the feelings of loneliness and betrayal that this country is not what we are led to believe is far too common.

I want to acknowledge some of the criticisms I’ve seen around this book, particularly ones made by White people who talk about how improbable Ana’s situation was (note: if you use the term “anchor baby” in your review, I automatically click out because fucking yikes.) Not only is the author Dominican but she explicitly states that this book is inspired by her mother and several other Dominican women who shared their stories with her. It’s possible to dislike this book without writing off Ana’s situation as being impossible just because you’re too lazy to try and understand nuance and cultural complexities.  ¯_(ツ)_/¯

*SPOILER*
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While I loved this book, I will say that I was not a fan of Ana’s relationship with Cesar. I’m glad that Ana had someone to lean on during hard times, but Cesar being 20 years old and getting with Ana was not okay. They could have been allies without it turning romantic. Just because he’s not awful like Juan didn’t make it okay.
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