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Dominicana

de Angie Cruz

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
3452056,324 (4.05)88
Fifteen-year-old Ana Canción never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year's Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by César, Juan's free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay. As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family's assets, leaving César to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with César, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.… (mais)
  1. 00
    A Woman Is No Man de Etaf Rum (MM_Jones)
    MM_Jones: Both are immigrant to New York stories from a different culture.
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I read this over the course of 24 hours so it felt like an intense read - and it was intense to read in various ways. I found myself getting quite emotionally attached to the main character, but yet kept forgetting that she was only 15. Sobering, and confronting - 4.4 :) ( )
  Marshmalison | Dec 30, 2020 |
Dominicana is a coming of age story that is set in NYC in the turbulent and bustling 1960s. Angie Cruz shares a remarkable story about a young girl named Ana. At 15, Ana was forced to marry a man twice her age and move from the Dominican Republic to America...with her family's hope, she could achieve the "American Dream".

Upon her arrival, Ana ends up finding herself isolated from her family and at the mercy of a husband who neither seems to care for her or her needs. While this was a heartbreaking story in many ways, it was also a tale of strength, persistence, and resilience.

I loved that Cruz chose to share this story from the point of view of Ana. While it was very clear she was a teenager in many ways, she has this introspection that made her wise beyond her years. I loved watching her learn how to exert her own independence in difficult situations when the hits just kept on coming. The connection between Ana and her doll Dominicana was just so beautiful and heartbreaking and added so much to the story for me.

This book follows her as blooms both literally and figuratively into the self-assured women she was meant to become. She is able to find joy in the darkest times and I loved the feeling of lightness she was able to find when she spent time with her brother in law. Ana was able to just be without the constraints of other's expectations or the brutal reality of her marriage to Juan.

This was one of those books that I enjoyed reading but found it even more thought-provoking and powerful once I finished and reflected upon it. I think it would make a wonderful book club selection and I look forward to following more of Angie Cruz' writing in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for an advanced copy of this book. ( )
  genthebookworm | Dec 19, 2020 |
Dominicana is a gripping story set in the 1960s about a teenage girl, Ana, who is sent from her home in the Dominican Republic to a new life in New York with her recently acquired husband, who is twice her age.

Loosely based on the life of the author's mother, the novel paints a stirring picture of the reality of immigrant life for those with very little who aspire to a better lot. The story is mainly told from Ana's perspective, but we also get glimpses of her husband Juan's story. Juan is the ticket for the rest of Ana's family to go over to the US, but Ana's narrative is shot through with a longing for home. In addition, Juan isn't a great husband, and Ana dreams of being free of him one day.

The story is also set against the backdrop of increasing unrest in the DR as the American government tries to get its approved candidate into power, with devastating consequences for Ana's family.

I absolutely loved this novel and found it very difficult to put down. Ana is a compelling character and it's hard not to empathise with her plight. But she isn't just a victim; bit by bit, she tries to make the most of her situation.

I thought Cruz did a brilliant job of describing immigrant life, as well as the 1960s setting. I'm looking forward to reading more of her work. ( )
  mooingzelda | Dec 7, 2020 |
Ana is eleven years old when we meet her – the second oldest daughter in a large Dominican Republic family that includes cousins as well as siblings. She has come to the attention of Juan Ruiz – one of a clan of brothers who are essentially wheeler-dealers with big plans. There’s an undercurrent here that Juan is more interested in the beachfront property Ana’s family claims, but he also sees her develop into a nubile teen on his frequent visits from New York.

Bowing to pressure from her family, Ana eventually agrees to marry Juan, to go with him to New York, and once established there, to help the rest of her family emigrate.

That’s the set-up for the bulk of the novel, as 15-year-old Ana rapidly becomes disillusioned with marriage, pines away in an essentially empty apartment as her husband goes about his business (which includes selling stolen goods, waiting tables at a hotel, promoting various deals, and carrying on an affair with a married woman). Her efforts to adjust, to improve herself by learning English and getting a basic education, to squirrel away a few dollars at a time out of Juan’s view, propel her into multiple situations that test her resilience and resourcefulness. Things take a turn when Juan leaves his pregnant bride to go back to the Dominica Republic to nail down the land transfer. But he is caught in a war zone when the U.S. occupies the island to intervene in a civil war. Meantime, Ana is placed under the protection of Juan’s youngest brother, and the undeniable attraction between the two young people creates complications.

There’s a lot going on here, most of it seen through Ana’s eyes, with short excursions into Juan’s POV. In some ways, she’s incredibly resourceful; in others she handles herself the way most 15-year-olds would. She longs for her family, for the familiar foods and social events of her home, tries to prepare for the coming baby, and copes with Juan’s rages and frustrations, which he frequently takes out on her with his fists. And underneath it all is her own grown sexual awareness, which finds its inevitable outlet with the only man to whom she is physically close.

Ana is an easy character to identify with – basically good, hard-working, and utterly in over her head in New York. Many of the challenges she faces are exacerbated by her own awareness that she’s in the country with falsified papers and could face deportation if she interfaces with any official agencies. This fear keeps her from utilizing the social safety nets that might make her plight easier to bear.

Juan, while less likeable, is also a man of his time and upbringing. He has certain expectations of his wife’s place, and reacts to any conflict with her in the same way he saw other men react within their own families. He’s utterly sincere about succeeding in business, but the deck is pretty well stacked against him. He knows this, and so has no compunctions about bending the rules to even up the odds.

The novel is set in the mid-sixties and utilizes then-current events well as a backdrop to the characters’ actions and impressions of their newly-adopted country. ( )
  LyndaInOregon | Dec 6, 2020 |
Many beautiful scenes. Depicted a world very vividly. I was not totally sold on the romance and sometimes felt a little unsure of what it was doing, but still excellent. ( )
  erikasolberg770 | Nov 4, 2020 |
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For Dania, my mother

Para todas las Dominicanas

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The first time Juan Ruiz proposes to me, I'm eleven years old, skinny and flat-chested.
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Fifteen-year-old Ana Canción never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year's Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by César, Juan's free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay. As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family's assets, leaving César to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with César, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

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