The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico

Sarah McCoy, Author . Crown/Shaye Areheart $19.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-307-46007-3

McCoy's unaffected, conversational debut sketches a year and a half in the life of Verdita Ortiz-Santiago, a Puerto Rican girl whose fascination with America overshadows her quiet life. The book opens in 1961, with Verdita's 11th birthday party, perhaps her last occasion of guileless joy. An indulged only child, Verdita gets a shock when, a few months later, she learns that her parents are expecting a baby: “I hated it, the baby.... And I despised them for making it.” Her fears that the baby will be a boy force her to confront the deeply patriarchal society in which she lives; she also uses the opportunity, in a more typical fashion, to aim all her anger and confusion at her mother (proud of her growing breasts, she's also ashamed of “becoming more like Mama”). Though McCoy's lyrical writing is absorbing, Verdita's trials are largely unexceptional (including a disastrous attempt to go blonde and taking on more responsibility, especially after the baby's birth), and her parents are underdeveloped, making this coming-of-age story a slight addition to the crowded genre. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/29/2009
Release date: 08/01/2009
Open Ebook - 110 pages - 978-0-307-46008-0
Paperback - 214 pages - 978-0-307-46017-2
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