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Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros

Caramelo (2002)

by Sandra Cisneros

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1,541307,740 (3.58)71
Lala Reyes' grandmother is descended from a family of renowned rebozo-, or shawl-makers. The striped (caramelo) is the most beautiful of all, and the one that makes its way, like the family history it has come to represent, into Lala's possession. The novel opens with the Reyes' annual car trip-a caravan overflowing with children, laughter, and quarrels-from Chicago to "the other side": Mexico City. It is there, each year, that Lala hears her family's stories, separating the truth from the "healthy lies" that have ricocheted from one generation to the next. We travel from the Mexico City that was the "Paris of the New World" to the music-filled streets of Chicago at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties-and finally, to Lala's own difficult adolescence in the not-quite-promised land of San Antonio, Texas. Caramelo is a vital, wise, romantic tale of homelands, sometimes real, sometimes imagined. Vivid, funny, intimate, historical, it is a brilliant work destined to become a classic: a major new novel from one of our country's most beloved storytellers.… (more)
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    Behind the Mountains (First Person Fiction) by Edwidge Danticat (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both books have a similar feeling of a young girl who is too young to understand the events unfolding around her.

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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
I rarely re-read books but I have read this twice. The audio version is excellent because the author narrates it herself. She brings the story alive with her enthusiasm and lively voice. ( )
  godmotherx5 | Apr 5, 2018 |
A loosely autobiographical novelization of the life of a young Mexican American girl including a good deal of her family's history. Peppered liberally with Spanish words and phrases, not always translated. Interesting, but pretty slow-moving and sometimes almost on the edge of boring. It was difficult to care for these characters as only the (unreliable) narrator seemed like a decent person. A middle part where the history of the Awful Grandmother is being told is interjected with comments from another in italics. It took quite a while to figure out who this other was supposed to be. ( )
  EmScape | Dec 4, 2016 |
Things I liked: The storyline of Lala and her immigrant family living in Chicago, then San Antonio.
Some of the prose was beautiful. What I didn't like: Fragmented Vignettes. Did not flow. The Spanish made it feel interrupted because I had to either skip over parts or constantly look up a phrase. I did not like all the footnotes and also cameos of famous people that did not advance the story. I would not recommend this work of Cisneros to anyone who was not already a fan of her writing. ( )
  Likeitorlumpit | Dec 3, 2016 |
an old shawl (color) caramel rebozo
I adore these Spanish stories — so whimsical sometimes real, or imagined — very rich romantic tale of homelands + past
"You are the author of your life ... tragedy or comedy"
"Life is Short/Anger Long"
"I hurt you — I'm sorry" — me to Amie again + again

Every year, Ceyala "Lala" Reyes' family--aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, and Lala's six older brothers--packs up three cars and, in a wild ride, drive from Chicago to the Little Grandfather and Awful Grandmother's house in Mexico City for the summer. Struggling to find a voice above the boom of her brothers and to understand her place on this side of the border and that, Lala is a shrewd observer of family life. But when she starts telling the Awful Grandmother's life story, seeking clues to how she got to be so awful, grandmother accuses Lala of exaggerating. Soon, a multigenerational family narrative turns into a whirlwind exploration of storytelling, lies, and life. Like the cherished rebozo, or shawl, that has been passed down through generations of Reyes women, Caramelo is alive with the vibrations of history, family, and love.
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  christinejoseph | Jul 23, 2016 |
Caramelo is a novel that spans multi-generations and lapses often into Spanish. As a person who does not understand Spanish, I found that the many Spanish words broke up the continuity of the narrative, which was already pushing boundaries as the story vacillated from present to various past remembrances. Yes, there were several interesting and humorous stories, but there was much that was off-putting. Shouting matches, ultimatums, lies, fights, and deceptions seemed to be the norm. I know that many people absolutely loved this tale. I found it a chore to get through. ( )
  Maydacat | Jul 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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We're all in the photograph above Father's bed. We were little in Acapulco. We will always be little.
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