Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Dominicana by Angie Cruz is the story of Ana, who is forced to marry so that she can live in the US, hopefully to prosper and send money home to the Dominican Republic. Eventually, she plans to sponsor family members who also want to become American. She is 15, her husband is 32 when they hastily marry and move to New York.
In New York, Ana finds that her husband is not the wealthy man he pretended to be. Nor is he as kind as everyone thought. In fact, this book needs a trigger warning for domestic violence. Finding herself trapped in poor circumstances, Ana comes up with sneaky ways to set money aside for herself. Ana works hard at making her home comfortable, cooking delicious foods from their home country, and helping him with a shady business out of their apartment. But, when she makes a costly mistake, will it end her chance to escape from his violence?
Recommended - I enjoyed Dominicana mostly for the work ethic and creativity of the heroine, but I also loved the way she got to know her neighbors (in spite of the language barrier), found a way to start learning English when her husband was not around to force her to stay home, and eventually made her own money. She screwed up plenty, mostly because of her youth and naïvité. But, I cared for her and hoped things would work out. The 1960s setting was unfortunately not well described. I had to keep reminding myself of the time period.
It's been a couple weeks since I read Dominicana but I remember it well. I found it very difficult to put down and since we were being hit by the outer bands of Hurricane Hanna, it was a great day to read. Hanna even cooled us off enough that I was able to spend part of my reading time outside. In July! Yay!
I think I have Instagram to thank for this recommendation. I remember seeing it frequently, not so long ago. Maybe it was a Book of the Month Club selection? At any rate, I read lots of reviews and I'm glad I was able to read a copy. The story is based on the author's mother's story. I'm curious how similar it is and in what aspects she departed from her mother's experience.
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