cover image How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Julia Alvarez. Recorded Books, $19.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4193-7795-2

Alvarez's novel inches backward in time, unfolding as 15 separate but tightly linked tales of the four Garcia girls, daughters in a wealthy Dominican family who fled to the U.S. with their parents to escape the island's dictator. One central voice reads third-person narratives about the girls' experiences, acting as an axis that spools off the girls' individual voices in first-person chapters. Carla, Sandra, Yolanda and Sofia take turns describing their trials both with their Old World parents' strict ideas of proper behavior and their New World neighbors' resistance to the presence of immigrants. While the narrators (Blanca Camacho, Anne Henk, Annie Kosuch, Melanie Martinez and Noemi de la Puente) are never distinct enough for listeners to affix specific voices to characters, the book's title is illustrated perfectly by their flawless, accent-free English that switches smoothly to Spanish trills and rhythms when necessary, giving the reading both flair and authenticity. The audiobook enriches Alvarez's silvery prose and already delightful stories, making them dance even more gracefully.