Melissa is a twenty-something (read: almost 30) Chicana vegetarian feminist. She is currently trying to find a job as a high school English teacher, but in the meantime she is a tutor. If she could live anywhere in the world she would live in Paris, even though she took four years of French and still cannot speak a lick of it. For now, she resides in south Texas with her two cats and one dog, all of whom were adopted from a shelter. Her favorite authors are Junot Diaz, Toni Morrison, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Leo Tolstoy. She is very lucky to have met all of them (except Tolstoy, for obvious reasons).
Iris Gomez’s Try to Remember is a beautifully written coming of age story that follows Gabi, a teenage Colombian immigrant living in Miami with her family.
Gabi is caught between two worlds. On one hand, she tries to be the best daughter she can be and help her parents as much as she can, especially since her mother is struggling to make ends meet each month while her father slowly descends into mental illness. On the other hand, though she was born in Colombia and remembers her childhood with nostalgia, she is coming of age in America and finds herself questioning her place within both cultures.
One of the things I loved most about this book was its timelessness. Though it’s set in the 1970s, I would forget about the era until things like spirit duplicators, women’s lib, and Vietnam were mentioned. Although the events of the era undoubtedly shaped Gabi’s views, the majority of her thoughts were focused on her family and on her experiences as an immigrant (such as worrying about her family losing their green cards and getting deported). A lot of the themes that were relevant to her then are still relevant now.
This is an excellent book for anyone wanting to catch a glimpse of an immigrant experience.
You can win a copy of this book as part of my Latino Books Month giveaway! Click here to enter.