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Book review

“How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents”

By Julia Alvarez

Plume/Penguin, 1991



“How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents” is a fascinating novel chronicling the lives of four sisters whose family emigrates from the Dominican Republic to the Bronx in 1960.




At home in the “Islands,” they are part of the upper class, enjoying a protected, affluent life in a large extended family. In New York, they are suddenly lower class. No one respects the fact that they are de la Torres children, grandchildren of an ambassador. Their downstairs neighbor complains to the landlord about the noise, and kids at school call them “spics.”

It is a thoughtful exploration of what is gained and what is lost, especially for women, in contemporary American life. The reader feels for the girls struggling through adolescence in a strange new world.

A good read, thought provoking and available at the Grass Valley Library.

– Deborah Curtis

Nevada City


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