Growing Up Children of Immigrants
Welcome; I am Dr. Mary Scott, a DCCC professor, teaching students anatomy and physiology, and a member of the college’s Literacy Committee. This fall, DCCC is debuting a Read and CONQuer program. I want to share with you our featured book for September: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, by Erika L. Sanchez.
Welcome; I am Dr. Mary Scott, a DCCC professor, teaching students anatomy and physiology, and a member of the college’s Literacy Committee. This fall, DCCC is debuting a Read and CONQuer program. I want to share with you our featured book for September: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, by Erika L. Sanchez. Although recommended for young adults, the story can be enjoyed by anyone who has struggled with self-identity while clashing with parental expectations. Erika Sanchez has drawn from her own life to create a timeless work of fiction giving a realistic glimpse into the struggles many of our first-generation college students face as immigrants, or children of immigrants. Woven into the story is the struggle with being of two cultures, depression and a suicide attempt when the main character loses hope and becomes overwhelmed by her mother’s expectations.
The main character is Julia, an American born daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants, a bookworm, “black sheep of the family,” and a high school senior. Julia has her own American dream which conflicts with her mother’s expectations. You are introduced to Julia shortly after the accidental death of her older sister, Olga, who her mother has on a pedestal as the “perfect Mexican daughter.’’ You will journey with Julia as she grieves for Olga, discovers Olga’s secrets, and pursues her dream of going away to college to become a writer. You will also return with her to Mexico where Julia visits her grandmother and extended family, discovering her parent’s secrets. You will see the contrast of her life in Chicago verses how life is in a Mexican village.
Mixed with these serious topics is humor. Julia’s best friend, Lorena, provides comic relief, as well as emotional support for Julia. Lorena is the type of friend that scares Julia’s overprotective mother. She pulls Julia out of her books and into adventures, causing her to stretch her boundaries. As Lorena assists Julia in uncovering secrets, Julia keeps secret how deep her despair and feelings of failure are. Lorena addresses this after Julia attempts suicide and enters treatment. You will journey with both girls as they succeed in achieving their goals.
With this review, I hope I have given you enough to make you want to go read this book. As a mother, I hope you will see the dangers in keeping secrets from your children; as a resident of Southwest Kansas, I hope you can appreciate the unique struggles that local teenagers and families face, and I hope you will easily see the timeless themes that Sanchez explores in I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and why this book earned distinction as one of The Top 10 Young Adult and Children’s Books of 2017. I’m Dr. Mary Scott for the HPPR Radio Readers Book Club’s Summer Reading List. Thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy the book.