This reads more like a connected set of short stories than a novel. The timeline moves backwards, with various looks at the four Garcia girl throughout their lives. They moved to America when they were very young after their father was involved in a failed coup d’etat in the Dominican Republic. My main complaint about the book is how disjointed it feels. Since the story moves backwards, I found myself wondering if I had missed some details and whether or not I should recognize the secondary characters’ names from earlier chapters. At the very beginning of the book Yolanda decides to move back to the Dominican Republic. I kept expecting an explanation that never came. There are many good parts and good characterizations, but it didn’t seem to come together as a whole.
This book is about 4 sisters and their parents who are forced to flee the Dominican Republic because their lives are in danger. It is about their immigration experience. It is told from different points of view in short little vignettes which I really appreciated. I thought it moved you through the book quickly.
I've been reading Dominican-American writer Julia Alvarez's "In the Time of the Butterflies" with my high school English class and wanted to read something else by her. This is her first novel and it helps to have read "Butterflies" first as it will give you a political/historical context for why the family left the D.R. in the 60s. Like "Butterflies," it's centered around the family and takes place over many years (the chronology works backwards in this novel). It combines two classic plots, the coming of age novel and the immigrant novel in a vibrant, observant manner. You may also like Diaz's "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao."
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