The Silk Purse: A Memoir
Memoir of a South Bronx Childhood
The Silk Purse, a memoir set in the l950s tells of Raquels ingenuity, courage, and inner strength as she struggles to keep her dreams alive while living under the close supervision of at least a dozen pairs of vigilant loving eyes.
Raquels early childhood was filled with strict rules, traditional expectations, and myriad household duties imposed by her Puerto Rican Cuban extended family. From age 3-18, she lived under the watchful gaze of her parents, maternal grandparents, a great aunt, her half-sister, their majestic collie Sabu, various tenants, and many of the residents of the South Bronx, New York, apartment building where they all lived.
Some episodes are touching examples of growing up; others are painful and poignant passages in the life of this young girl and her family. The story themes are about friendship, loyalty, childhood pranks, her first job, first love, first separation and much more. In spite of the cramped quarters located in the midst of a neighborhood that is showing signs of devastation, decay, and danger the apartment and building were a sanctuary for Raquel and her family.Raquel Ortiz writes with such humor and vivid description, I felt I was eating a juicy mango too! The coming of age stories of this young Latina are written with simplicity, humility and such dulzura you cant help but journey with the author to bitter sweet places in your own heart.
-Linda Soto-Harmon, First Book,
(A national childrens literary organization)
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