Growing Up Puerto Rican

William Morrow, Author, Ed Vega, Author, Joy L. De Jesus, Editor William Morrow & Company $24 (352p) ISBN 978-0-688-13740-3
Puerto Ricans occupy a unique place among U.S. immigrant populations, stresses freelancer de Jesus, for they are colonial U.S. citizens whose mother tongue is Spanish and--when they move to the States--their culture and customs are foreign to mainlanders. Often dark-skinned, they face racial discrimination, large populations of them living in the barrios of New York City, Los Angeles and Hawaii. These 20 stories and memoirs by accomplished Puerto Rican writers are dominated by issues of identity that are often complicated by the sense of confused nationality and ethnicity. In ""The Boy Without a Flag,"" Abraham Rodriguez Jr. thinks to emulate a Puerto Rican hero and win his father's admiration by a brave, sad, comic stand to assert his ethnicity by refusing to salute the flag. Keen feelings of dispossession and alienation color the memoirs of Aurora Levins Morales, Julio Marzan and several others. Some pieces are filled with nostalgia for the way of life and beauties of Puerto Rico, and others explore the ways color discrimination by Puerto Ricans themselves affects their sense of self. An exceptionally varied and revealing portrait of a group whose youth engage in a common search for identity that is made more difficult by cultural displacement. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/02/1997
Release date: 06/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
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