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Publisher's Summary

From a rippled zinc shack in rural Puerto Rico to "the better life" in a decaying Brooklyn tenement, Esmeralda Santiago's Puerto Rican childhood is one of sorcery, smoldering war between the sexes, and high comedy. Hers is a portrait of a harsh but enchanted world that can never be reclaimed.

Note: This audiobook is in Spanish. Este audiolibro es en Espanol.

©1993 Esmeralda Santiago (P)2007 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent

From the time I heard the way the author described the feel and smell of a "guayaba", I was in awe. As a puertorican myself, this book just brought to mind all those stories, most of them sad, of other family members leaving your island behind and try to make a better life.How they struggled to hold on to their customs in strange land and not get swallowed by their adoptive one.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Read

This book brings back my own childhood memories of growing up Puerto Rican in Brooklyn. I loved it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Miriam
  • New York, NY, USA
  • 11-21-07

takes you back in time

Listening to Esmeralda Santiago tell this story took me back to when I was Puerto Rican. I was 5 yrs old when I first came to NY and now at 55 yrs old I can still remember a few things from Puerto Rico and the school days here in NY. The time when I was also put back a grade because I didn't speak English.
If you want to relive those good old days when you was Puerto Rican I would buy this book and the one that follows "Casi una mujer" which I am about to do as soon as I post this review. God Bless, Miriam

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tez L
  • Los Angeles, CA USA
  • 05-29-12

Good, interesting

What did you love best about Cuando Era Puertorriquena (Texto Completo) [When I was Puerto Rican ]?

I loved hearing about what it was like in Puerto Rico, the family life, and the naive observances of Esmeralda (naive because she was young, and so described in that way). I also loved hearing about the US through the eyes of a young girl in Puerto Rico. I'm several generations US citizen on both sides so when it comes to immigration, I have zero first hand experience and I really enjoyed listening to the story of how it came about for Esmeralda Santiago. It was all beautifully described and engaging.

Which scene was your favorite?

I loved hearing about what it was like once they got on the plane to the US. "All I could taste was salt." Compared to Puerto Rico, the only spice we seem to use is salt! It's very true. And I LOVED hearing about her experiences in the US school system, as a foreigner. It is something very foreign to me, as a white-bread type American, and I found it very interesting. I cried a few times in this part, not from sadness though. It was quite incredible.

Any additional comments?

I listened to this book in Spanish, it was very good. Upon finishing the only thing I wanted to do was go and buy the next installation, Almost a Woman. I haven't yet, mostly because it doesn't get great reviews, but I will someday. It's a well-written, well-performed memoir.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alan
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 02-28-12

Enjoyable and beautifully narrated

This is the first great book in Spanish I have found on Audible -a wonderfully detailed story of a young girl growing up in Puerto Rico. I took a risk on this one and am glad I did. How often can an author narrate their own work? Esmeralda Santiago is both a great author and narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Touching

This book held my interest and was very enjoyable. Unlike the other reviewers, I'm not from Puerto Rico but have been learning Spanish and purchased the book in order to practice reading in that language.
I was fascinated with the story and couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. There was humor throughout and the author had a unique way of reacting to things. She and I graduated from high school in the same year (as it turns out) and I could relate to some of the history in the book and the family stories were also quite moving.
I did feel as though the author sometimes seemed to feel a little "picked on" but that didn't detract from the story at all. She was also completely impressive and intelligent and lived a life far different from my own. I loved the book and learned lots of Spanish along the way. The story was quite touching and I'm looking forward to reading anything I can by Esmeralda Santiago.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Puerto Rican goodness for the heart

This book will fill you and warm your heart like a good "asopao de pollo". Santiago presents a Puerto Rico that is mostly forgotten by those of my generation yet the narratives she presents throughout her memoir seem terribly familiar. For those of us who have grown up in Puerto Rican homes, we know what a "cocotazo" is, or can relate to many of the old wive's tales presented throughout the book. Make sure to let Santiago's voice take you on a trip through 20th century Puerto Rico.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Tan real. Sensible.

Una obra de arte, capaz de envolver en la historia de una manera excepcional. Como puertorriqueña viviendo en los Estados Unidos, me puedo identificar con cada palabra, cada historia. Lágrimas brotaron sin ni siquiera realizarlo...wow

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Muy Autentico

Me gusto mucho el libro, soy dominicana y tambien inmigrante a los Estados Unidos. Me identifico con muchas de las vivencias de la autora comtadas de forma amena y aveces divertida.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful story

This book was so well written. It brought tears to my eyes of the many memories she shared that only a person raised on the island would understand.
Inspirational to women that are raised with nothing! Orugullo y motivación is key to success!