Monday, October 12, 2009

#BookReview: When I Was Puerto Rican - Esmeralda Santiago

What looked like it would be a promising read turned out to be blah. While I realize that When I Was Puerto Rican is the author's memoir, there's nothing "memoir worthy" about it, at least not as far as I can tell.

Raised as the oldest of 11 on the island of Puerto Rico, Esmeralda Santiago leads a pretty unremarkable life. Moving from the rural areas of Puerto Rico to the big city, from living with her parents to living with relatives, there's just nothing exciting about her story.

Though the back cover of the book emphasizes her moving to New York and how it affects her, in reality her New York relocation only takes up one-fifth of the entire book. Even worse, the New York section briefly covers one year of junior high before the reader is fast forwarded to the author returning to the high school that she graduated from 10 years prior.

It's my understanding that there is a follow up to this book called Almost a Woman. The author has been kind enough to add an excerpt from it at the back of this book. From what I can tell of that brief part, the sequel is just as unremarkable and seems to repeat everything that we're told in the initial book.


  1. It's sooo funny. I tried to read WIWPR & I didn't leave the first chapter. I started to read AAW, but since I didn't finish the FIRST book, there really was no need.

    I was a little disappointed, because I really wanted to like these books.

    *You have a beautiful blog!*

  2. I'm so glad to know it's not just me. Someone on Twitter almost had me convinced that I just didn't give the book a fair chance.

    Thanks for the compliment!