Fifteen Year Old Ana Cancion Never Dreamed Of Moving To America, The Way The Girls She Grew Up With In The Dominican Countryside Did But When Juan Ruiz Proposes And Promises To Take Her To New York City, She Has To Say Yes It Doesn T Matter That He Is Twice Her Age, That There Is No Love Between Them Their Marriage Is An Opportunity For Her Entire Close Knit Family To Eventually Immigrate So On New Year S Day Ana Leaves Behind Everything She Knows And Becomes Ana Ruiz, A Wife Confined To A Cold Six Floor Walk Up In Washington Heights Lonely And Miserable, Ana Hatches A Reckless Plan To Escape But At The Bus Terminal, She Is Stopped By Cesar, Juan S Free Spirited Younger Brother, Who Convinces Her To StayAs The Dominican Republic Slides Into Political Turmoil, Juan Returns To Protect His Family S Assets, Leaving Cesar To Take Care Of Ana Suddenly, Ana Is Free To Take English Lessons At A Local Church, Lie On The Beach At Coney Island, See A Movie At Radio City Music Hall, Go Dancing With Cesar, And Imagine The Possibility Of A Different Kind Of Life In America When Juan Returns, Ana Must Decide Once Again Between Her Heart And Her Duty To Her Family I got so engrossed in this novel that I accidentally took too long of a lunch break And then I got so engrossed again later that night that I almost forgot to leave my house to go hang out with my friend So yeah, I think you could say I enjoyed this book.Watch my full review Why I love itby Idra NoveyThe best novels, I find, are books I begin for one reason and end up loving for another That unpredictability is what makes a novel come alive for me For many years, I have admired the vitality of Angie Cruz s writing, and I anticipated that Dominicana would be full of dynamic scenes and fearless candor What I didn t expect was how intensely and often I would go on considering the resilience of its mesmerizing protagonist, Ana, after finishing this book.Dominicana celebrates the tenacity of Ana Cancion, a 15 year old forced to marry a 32 year old as a business arrangement Raised on a farm in the Dominican Republic, Ana ends up stuck in a hot apartment in New York City with a terrifying husband who obliges her to have sex she doesn t want to have Terribly alone in New York living with this oppressive, older husband Juan, Ana forges a bond with Juan s younger brother, Cesar, and her sense of the possibilities of what her life may hold begin to expand.Despite being trapped in a terrifying marriage she didn t choose, Ana does not resign herself to quiet suffering She remains defiantly open to joy What fuels a person s capacity for resilience is an elusive question that fiction is uniquely suited to answering, and Angie Cruz explores it in this novel with such subtlety and insight.Read at I opened up Dominicano on a plane and for the rest of my trip was transported to 1965 New York City I experienced the city through the eyes of 15 year old Ana, newly married and separated from her family in the Dominican Republic Every page felt fresh, vibrant and unpredictable Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC. A friend of mine recommend this book to me months ago She read it for work and told me that it was definitely going to be something I would really enjoy So, when I got the opportunity to pick up an ARC of the book, I grabbed it After working with the publisher to give away two copies of the book, I decided it s a great opportunity to read and whoa The results blew me away.Dominicana is the story of a young girl named Ana, who s about to embark to New York from the Dominican Republic to marry Juan, a man twice her age The reason For the opportunity to make money in the country that promises a lot of big dreams However, the reality of the American Dream comes fraught with a husband who doesn t hesitate to hit her, who doesn t let her leave the house, who doesn t let her talk to anyone, who doesn t give her anything but sadness and a baby And all along the way, her family asks for money to send home and help them out.So Ana begins to hustle selling suits, her home cooking, and doing small jobs from her little apartment while her baby continues to grow in her belly and Juan continues to mistreat her including sleeping with another woman.But when Juan hears about the turmoil in the Dominican Republic, he rushes off to defend his country leaving Ana alone with his younger brother, Cesar What Cesar provides to Ana is everything she wanted with Juan nights at the movies, working together, going to Coney Island, eating a hot dog, and the security of someone who can navigate the twisted American streets What Cesar provides is exactly what Ana wants including a loving companion and when Juan finally returns from his trip, she has to decide if she wants to run away with Cesar or stay at home with her husband.When I was reading this at first, I thought this had a lot of the same feelings I had for A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum But as you continue on, you find that this book is much complex than just a woman struggling to find her voice in her family.The story takes place over the span of a year during the 1960s right at the height of the Vietnam War, Malcolm X s death, and around the time 42,000 US Marines are sent to the Dominican Republic to avoid another Cuba happening Angie Cruz does a great job incorporating a little of this into her book, but with a lot of subtly It was interesting to include this especially when Juan decides to go down to the Dominican to help It would have been nice to have this incorporated into the book, but I can also see how that would deter the reader from the main story Also, I don t fault fiction authors for leaving information out That s just up to the reader to look up later.The biggest theme in this whole book is the American Dream I found it so great that no matter what gets thrown at Ana, she just dusts herself off and creates a new dream for herself Right before she left the Dominican, she and her family plans on how she ll go to school in America, then send for some people to continue making money, and eventually getting her whole family to America Each time her plans fail, she makes up a new plan on how she ll prosper in this world When I think about it, this is what we do all the time We make big plans, try to bring them to fruition, and while we get knocked down by our circumstances or some third party fails us, we continue to dream about the next thing that ll get our families into America and hope for the best.I really love the scenes where Ana s age is obvious For the entire book, she s 15 years old In some situations, she s beholden to the wife role her mother put on her She cleans the entire house She cooks all the meals She listens to her husband But then there are moments where her age is apparent She ll be wearing Juan s suits dancing around the house and mimicking him She ll listen to music on the radio so loud that the neighbor downstairs knocks on the floor for silence She even feeds Juan a pigeon she catches on her windowsill just to see if he ll get food poisoning I love that Angie Cruz incorporates this into the story I feel like a lot of times in these stories, the teenager ages way beyond their years because their situation forces them to While this is happening for Ana, I love that she s able to keep a little part to herself It also reinforces the fact that all these terrible things are happening to a kid Ana is someone you want to look out for because no one is really looking out for her.Angie Cruz s writing style also needs to be mentioned While peppered with fragmented sentence structures and no quotations over the dialogue, I felt like it really embodied Ana and her youth She s young and the writing reads that way, but it also has a sense of maturity you don t see in YA The phrasing and word choices really make you think you re reading from Ana s mind and that immersion ties together her youth, her vulnerability, and her strength extremely well.The last thing I want to mention is how desperate Ana is to find someone who will stay with her Being alone in a country where she barely speaks the preferred language and with a husband that treats her poorly, she clings to the people she encounters From Juan s clients to her ESL teacher, she s always looking for a kind hand to spend her days with It s obvious that she does feel something for Cesar especially since he s such a kind person, but when she finally has her baby, she sees who s the most important person that she knows she can rely on.I received a copy of this book from Flatiron Books for free in exchange for an honest review My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author. When BOTM issued the warning about the lack of dialogue queues I thought hey, that s not so bad but as I began reading it became quite distracting However, once I got used to the style of the book I couldn t put it down Amazing story with political undertones It led me to research some of the history of the DR, and it s quite fascinating I have so many thoughts roaming in my head about Dominicana A lot of the time I wish I knew about the culture and way of living but there was so much within the story that made it beautiful and saddening The compassion and hope you start to feel for the main character Ana is inevitable You watch her grow and at times I got impatient, but it was through her journey you learn of why she sacrificed so much The original setting of this story is in Los Guayacanes, Dominican Republic I get my period at twelve and eight months, she undoes my pigtails and pulls my hair back tight so no kinks escape, so my eyes pull at the ends Ana is young girl who s mother uses her to get their family out of poverty Her older sister Theresa is no longer in option so Ana s parents marry her off to one of the Ruiz brothers Juan Ruiz is 32 and Ana is 15 when she is married off to him the in year of 1965 The one thing Ana s mother told her that I think is a pattern throughout this story is, Lesson number one to survive life, she says through the acrid smoke, learn to pretend.While in NY, Ana s loneliness is so descriptive She connects to the birds she feeds by her windowsill and even reference I Love Lucy as an imaginary storyline of her life If you pay attention to the time of this story you will see how it addressed the current political standing legal system, racism, the killing of Martin Luther King Jr., music of this time, and the Dominican Republic Turmoil It presents the way a person must move in life for survival and what it is like for such a small person in a city where people would not look at you twice I do not want to give the story away but this is a book I do want to discuss with others To see how they feel or give insight to the culture and what is so accurate from a book versus reality I will admit, the ending was not what I expected.
My TakeawayAngie Cruz, DominicanaWhat have you done to my heart, Angie Cruz From the cover to the writing, I loved, loved Dominicana When I finished reading it I could not stop thinking about Ana major book hangover Cruz weaved a remarkable story with complicated but fascinating individuals I felt an instant connection with this coming of age novel, especially with Ana, the main character Certain aspects of Ana s life reminded me of my own story Like Ana, I married at age 15 but not in an arranged marriage, but by choice My family moved to the Dominican Republic to become evangelical missionaries After a few months, numerous issues were surrounding our family, and I felt getting married was my only way out Because I was a minor, my mom had to sign permission allowing us to get married We were married for seven years and share three children now adults Just like Ana, my relationship with my mom was complex and combative at times So although my life was not entirely identical to Ana s, there were commonalities Time and time again my heart went out to Ana I was fiercely rooting for her the whole timeI embraced Cruz s poignant writing and vivid descriptions I promise you I could smell the food and hear the music Her lovely writing took me back to the island and had me throwing down some Dominican recipes Also, throughout the novel, Cruz mentions faceless clay dolls which are super popular in the Dominican Republic The dolls reflect and represent the diverse culture and races of the Dominican Republic African, European, and Indigenous The iconic, beautiful, faceless dolls are a true Dominican staple and many households in the U.S have one or displayed I have several Being Dominican American, I also enjoyed all of Cruz s Dominicanisms and Spanglish phrases Dominicana certainly pulled on my heartstrings and the story will remain a top favorite for me I cannot recommend this book enough Especially, to those interested in stories about the immigrant experience In this case via a Dominican family Please be aware there is some domestic violence in the book This remarkable novel comes out on 9 3 19, but you should pre order your copy today A HUGE thank you to Flatiron Books for an advanced copy of this wondrous book in exchange for an honest review You guys rock
Dominicana is a coming of age story that is set in NYC in the turbulent and bustling 1960s Angie Cruz shares a remarkable story about a young girl named Ana At 15, Ana was forced to marry a man twice her age and move from the Dominican Republic to Americawith her family s hope, she could achieve the American Dream.Upon her arrival, Ana ends up finding herself isolated from her family and at the mercy of a husband who neither seems to care for her or her needs While this was a heartbreaking story in many ways, it was also a tale of strength, persistence, and resilience.I loved that Cruz chose to share this story from the point of view of Ana While it was very clear she was a teenager in many ways, she has this introspection that made her wise beyond her years I loved watching her learn how to exert her own independence in difficult situations when the hits just kept on coming The connection between Ana and her doll Dominicana was just so beautiful and heartbreaking and added so much to the story for me This book follows her as blooms both literally and figuratively into the self assured women she was meant to become She is able to find joy in the darkest times and I loved the feeling of lightness she was able to find when she spent time with her brother in law Ana was able to just be without the constraints of other s expectations or the brutal reality of her marriage to Juan.This was one of those books that I enjoyed reading but found it even thought provoking and powerful once I finished and reflected upon it I think it would make a wonderful book club selection and I look forward to following of Angie Cruz writing in the future Thank you to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for an advanced copy of this book. A captivating story of a year in the life of Ana, a 15 year old girl in the Dominican Republic who is married to better her family s prospects to Juan, a man twice her age who is trying to make his fortune in New York City Stories like Ana s are still rarely told and hard to find, even though it s probably representative of people s experiences than most fiction you read about New York City in the late 60 s But even if you didn t already have that recommending the book, there is Ana s voice, drawing you in the way the best first person fiction does. Even after finishing the book , I can t help thinking about Ana It wasa beautiful book and Ana s characterization is so wonderful It leaves a deep impact on your mind Her innocence, how she grows and comes of age is so beautifully written Thoroughly enjoyed it
- 336 pages
- Angie Cruz
- 17 November 2019 Angie Cruz