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Reviews for Dominicana: A Novel

by Angie Cruz

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Ana Cancin is 15 when her parents marry her off to 32-year-old Juan Ruiz as part of a business arrangement, and she leaves her family farm in the Dominican Republic to move to New York City.In this coming-to-America story, the harsh realities of immigration are laid bare, but equally clear are the resilience and resourcefulness of the people who choose to make a new life far from home. It's the early 1960s, and there is tumult in the U.S. and abroadthe Vietnam War is raging, and the D.R. plunges into chaos when dictator Rafael Trujillo is assassinated. Author Cruz (Let It Rain Coffee, 2006, etc.) based the book on her own mother's experiences, and Ana's narration is wry and absorbing. Once Ana has arrived at her new apartment in Washington Heights, Juan proves himself to be a lousy husband, at best demanding and at worst abusive. At first, Ana's days are a bleak litany of chores and unwanted sex. But slowly, her life in New York begins to broaden, especially when Juan travels back to the D.R. on an extended business trip. By now, Ana is pregnant, but with Juan away, she is free to take English classes from the nuns across the street and scheme up ways to earn her own money, selling fried pastelitos with the help of her brother-in-law, Csar. Csar is younger than Juan, more fun than his brother, and kinder, too. Csar reminds Ana that joy existsand that it can be hersas when he surprises her with her first hot dog at Coney Island. Ultimately, though, Ana is her own strength and salvation. As she tells her ill-fated brother, Yohnny, before she leaves for New York, "I don't need anyone to save me."A moving, sad, and sometimes disarmingly funny take on migration and the forces that propel us into the world. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Ana Cancin is 15 when her parents marry her off to 32-year-old Juan Ruiz as part of a business arrangement, and she leaves her family farm in the Dominican Republic to move to New York City.In this coming-to-America story, the harsh realities of immigration are laid bare, but equally clear are the resilience and resourcefulness of the people who choose to make a new life far from home. It's the early 1960s, and there is tumult in the U.S. and abroadthe Vietnam War is raging, and the D.R. plunges into chaos when dictator Rafael Trujillo is assassinated. Author Cruz (Let It Rain Coffee, 2006, etc.) based the book on her own mother's experiences, and Ana's narration is wry and absorbing. Once Ana has arrived at her new apartment in Washington Heights, Juan proves himself to be a lousy husband, at best demanding and at worst abusive. At first, Ana's days are a bleak litany of chores and unwanted sex. But slowly, her life in New York begins to broaden, especially when Juan travels back to the D.R. on an extended business trip. By now, Ana is pregnant, but with Juan away, she is free to take English classes from the nuns across the street and scheme up ways to earn her own money, selling fried pastelitos with the help of her brother-in-law, Csar. Csar is younger than Juan, more fun than his brother, and kinder, too. Csar reminds Ana that joy existsand that it can be hersas when he surprises her with her first hot dog at Coney Island. Ultimately, though, Ana is her own strength and salvation. As she tells her ill-fated brother, Yohnny, before she leaves for New York, "I don't need anyone to save me."A moving, sad, and sometimes disarmingly funny take on migration and the forces that propel us into the world. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.