How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Front Cover
Bloomsbury, 2004 - Bronx (New York, N.Y.) - 290 pages
370 Reviews
Uprooted from their family home in the Dominican Republic, the four Garcia sisters - Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia - arrive in New York City in 1960 to find a life far different from the genteel existence of maids, manicures, and extended family they left behind. What they have lost - and what they find - is revealed in the fifteen interconnected stories that make up this exquisite novel from one of the premier novelists of our time.

Just as it is a feature of the immigrant experience to always look back, the novel begins with thirty-nine-year-old Yolanda's return to the island and moves magically backward in time to the final days before the exile that is to transform the sisters' lives. Along the way we witness their headlong plunge into the American mainstream. Although the girls try to distance themselves from their island life by ironing their hair, forgetting their Spanish, and meeting boys unchaperoned, they remain forever caught between the old world and the new. With bright humor and rare insight, Julia Alvarez vividly evokes the tensions and joys of belonging to two distinct cultures in a novel that is utterly authentic and full of irrepressible spirit.

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5 stars
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4 stars
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3 stars
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2 stars
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Alvarez has a gift for prose and character development. - Goodreads
... and the ending to this book is abrupt and strange. - Goodreads
The writing is lovely. - Goodreads
Not my favourite read, but definitely educational. - Goodreads
I love Julia Alvarez's prose. - Goodreads
liked the cat ending - Goodreads

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AntT - LibraryThing

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. I like books about the immigrant/first generation-American experience, and this one is full of humor and grace. Read full review

Review: How the García Girls Lost Their Accents

User Review  - Edmond Porter - Goodreads

I enjoyed some of the stories, others I found to not be as interesting. It was a little hard to follow the reverse chronology but once I was aware of that it made more sense. I did have a hard time ... Read full review

About the author (2004)

Julia Alvarez grew up in the Dominican Republic and emigrated to the United States in 1960. How The García Girls Lost Their Accents received the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award, was listed by Américas magazine as 1993's #1 bestseller in Latin America, and was named by both the ALA and the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 1991. Her second novel, In The Time Of The Butterflies, was nominated for the 1995 National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other works include !Yo!, Something To Declare and In The Name Of Salomé. She is also the author of children's and young adult books and poetry collections. She lives in Vermont and in the Dominican Republic, where she and her husband have a sustainable coffee farm and literacy centre.

Bibliographic information