Island Like You

Judith Ortiz Cofer, Author
Judith Ortiz Cofer, Author Scholastic $15.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-531-06897-7
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-14-038068-2
Library Binding - 978-0-531-08747-3
Prebound-Other - 165 pages - 978-0-606-10740-2
Hardcover - 978-0-8446-6967-0
Prebound-Glued - 165 pages - 978-0-7807-6828-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 243 pages - 978-0-545-13133-9
Prebound-Other - 165 pages - 978-0-613-01583-7
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Cofer's (Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood) 12 consistently sparkling, sharp short stories pungently recreate the atmosphere of a Puerto Rican barrio in Paterson, N.J. A different teenager is the focus of each entry, but the characters and the settings throughout are linked, often to great effect. In the poignant ``Don Jose of La Mancha,'' Yolanda observes both critically and sympathetically as her widowed mother gingerly approaches a new relationship-with a man Yolanda considers a clueless hick; the reader has previously met Yolanda in ``The One Who Watches,'' in which Yolanda's friend Doris describes the fear and anger she experiences as Yolanda goes shoplifting. In the surreally horrifying ``Matoa's Mirror,'' Kenny gets high on a mixture of drugs and then watches himself in a mirror, as if he's on TV, while he is getting beaten up outside his building. The overarching theme-the struggle to transcend one's roots but never succeeding (nor really wanting to)-is explored with enormous humanity and humor. This fine collection may draw special attention for its depictions of an ethnic group underserved by YA writers, but Cofer's strong writing warrants a close look no matter what the topic. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
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