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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by…

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (edition 2017)

by Erika L. Sánchez

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4672133,557 (3.9)16
Title:I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Authors:Erika L. Sánchez
Info:Knopf Books for Young Readers, Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:ebook, dnf

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez



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This book really talks about how our Mexican culture impacts women and how women are viewed in our society. It talks about how losing a loved one can impact everyone's lives and their perspective towards situations. ( )
  AileenSan | Apr 30, 2019 |
Have you ever read a book that you loved so much but still wanted to smack the main character every two pages?

Julia Reyes is your typical teenage American girl with Mexican immigrant parents. She hates school but loves English class and classic literature, her goal in life is to leave Chicago and move to New York to get away from her family, and in the meantime, her best friend Lorena keeps her somewhat sane. Her body is the typical Mexican cutout with a petite height and heavy curves. Her face gets angry red pimples and needs glasses to see.

Sometimes, her temper gets her in trouble and it’s that foot in mouth problem of hers that causes her older sister to die. At least that’s how she feels. Julia got in trouble in school one day and her mother had to go pick her up instead of going for her sister at her work. That same day, Olga died when she got hit by a truck.

I know there are going to be many people that might get offended with how many stereotypes this book holds. I can already hear the complaints of others about how Julia is the feisty Latina that pretends to be all hipster because she’s a self-hating Mexican. She’s a freaking teenager of course she’s self-hating. As a woman who grew up as a Mexican American girl in the middle of white people land, I know what Julia went through. I feel like if you’re really fully immersed in Mexican culture (or at least the one I grew up with) being politically correct is a learned trait from the outside. Most Mexicans did have that mom that would smack you with la chancla when you misbehaved. When you were bored you had no reason to be bored because you should be cleaning instead. Univision was the only channel ever playing on the TV. It took five hours to leave a party because it took one to say hi to half the family and another three to say goodbye to everyone. If you don’t say hi everyone assumes you’re angry. Because of this upbringing, most of us speak chismear as a third language.

Julia spends the book trying to figure herself out in the shadow of the perfect Mexican daughter that her sister left behind. Her mother doesn’t understand the culture she grew up with and her father was a hardworking Mexican immigrant that shows his love through providing instead of creating memories with the family. She thinks they don’t even want to know about her interests but doesn’t give them a chance to try either. Again, this isn’t an isolated thing only in Mexican-American families, most teens can relate to that feeling too.

There’s a moment where Julia seethed in a room full of her ethnically related people during her belated Quinceañera because she hated parties and the dress she was forced to wear. She hated the Mexican traditions and felt judged the entire time. But, then she gets a white boyfriend who asks the question that gives me second-hand embarrassment every time I hear it of “where are you from?” and doesn’t believe you when you tell them the name of a city in the mid-west USA. Her reaction? She thinks he’s cute for the roundabout way he tried to get her to admit what kind of brown person she was. These moments made me see how she really never fully embraced her Mexican side which I thought was sad.

In the end, no one is the perfect Mexican daughter. All in all, I enjoyed seeing the experience of a girl who fully embraced American life. It surprised me how much more American she became than I ever did because it sounded like Julia made more frequent trips than I did to Mexico and loved it. I hated the idea of ever going for longer than a week. I feel like it’s a must-read for any Mexican-American with immigrant parents. They really do give up a lot to give you the chance to live a life they didn’t get to have. ( )
  Jessika.C | Feb 27, 2019 |
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is so full of humor, sadness, compassion, and heart that it’s not surprising this book was a finalist for a National Book Award. Julia (be sure to pronounce that the Spanish way!!) is a teenager with multiple problems. She just doesn’t fit in, and she doesn’t behave in the way a proper Mexican daughter should behave. She dresses all wrong, she talks all wrong (such a smart ass!), and worst of all, she wants to leave her family and go off to college. She has dreams of traveling the world and becoming a great writer. She’s quite unlike her “perfect” older sister Olga who is content with a lot less.
The book opens with Julia attempting to deal with Olga’s sudden death in a traffic accident. Then, to her surprise, Julia discovers evidence that Olga wasn’t quite as perfect as everyone thought. Julia’s parents, both undocumented workers, are little help. Her father never talks, and her mother is stuck in a fearful and emotionally very distressed place where she can only condemn everything important to Julia, and then finally, condemns Julia herself. She forces Julia to go through the quinceañera celebration-from-hell which is both funny and sad. We watch Julia struggle to define herself as she sinks into growing depression and hopelessness. It takes a near-tragedy for Julia’s mother to recognize her daughter’s value and to start showing some real love and compassion for Julia’s uniqueness. Meanwhile, Julia learns some things about her parents, and her mother in particular, that helps Julia develop some understanding and forgiveness for her mother who has suffered great trauma.
As I was reading this book, I was thinking about my grandmother who entered the U.S. as an immigrant when she was five years old. Like Julia, my grandmother liked doing her own thing and was constantly at odds with her parents, especially her old-world mother. First-generation immigrants have unique struggles. My heart goes out to them all, be they from Mexico, Iraq, Sudan, Nepal, or northern Italy. ( )
  C.J.Shane | Feb 25, 2019 |
Julia, the teenage daughter of undocumented Mexican Immigrants, struggles to figure out her life in urban Chicago. After the death of her sister, her relationship with her over protective mother becomes intolerable. It is not until Julia reaches a breaking point, and learns all that her parents have endured to give their children a better life in America, that she is able to reach some middle ground with her grieving mother and move on with her own life.

As I read this, there are close to 5 million undocumented Mexicans, like Julia’s parents, living and working in the US. Julia’s story gives us insight as to what life is like for the children of these immigrants; poverty, racism, and the struggle for a better future amidst the normal trials of the teenage years. Props to Sanchez for including links to mental health resources at the end of the book incase anyone is triggered by events in the story. ( )
  Lindsay_W | Dec 26, 2018 |
This book is about a girl named Julia who is from a traditional Mexican family. Her sister Olga recently died in a tragic bus accident in Chicago. Julia is left as an only child and feels alone. Her mother is focused on Julia's flaws. Julia begins to wonder if her older sister Olga was really as perfect as her family made her out to be. With the help of her boyfriend and best friend she works to find out her sister's story. This book would work well as a shared read-aloud for middle schoolers or an independent reading choice for high schoolers. The book could be used for literature circles, teaching character traits, or even talking about the aspects of plot. As far as family goes in this book, it discusses the role of daughters and expectations in traditional Mexican culture and also points out some of the struggles children may have to go to while their family is dealing with the grief of losing a child.
  ksmole1 | Nov 13, 2018 |
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What's surprised me most about seeing my sister dead is the lingering smirk on her face.
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Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents' house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga's role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.… (more)

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