Friday, July 1, 2016

Book Review: Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

Goodreads says:

Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy's pregnancy, Sebastian's coming out, the cute boys, her father's meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.

July 24

My mother named me Gabriella, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn't want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it's important to wait until you're married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, "Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas." Eyes open, legs closed. That's as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don't mind it. I don't necessarily agree with that whole wait until you're married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can't tell my mom that because she will think I'm bad. Or worse: trying to be White.
This is the first time I have ever read a novel about a Mexican American character. Usually, the charracters I read about are either white or African American.  I am not trying to be negative here, but other cultures have a story too, and they should be heard.   (Just wanted to get that out of the way). 

I have never heard of this book or Isabel Quintero until I listen to the podcast, First Draft by Sarah Enni.  After listening to the podcast, I wanted to find out more about the author and her debut novel.

A former classmate and friend once said that he was called English muffin. Why, because he is Mexican American and white.  After hearing this I became very curious to hear about what life is like for a Latino  or Hispanic person growing up and or living in the United States.  I have another friend who is Mexican American who told me about life growing up and the things that he was exposed to. 

I have read some reviews on Goodreads and the reviews overall good and others were mixed.  Some would say that there is a lot of drama going on in this book.  I can honestly say that the struggle is real for Gabi, her friends, and family.

The most heartbreaking part about this story is that Gabi's father is a drug addict and the letters she writes to him.  Her brother can't understand why their father doesn't love him.  I just wanted to hug both of them and tell them that everything is going to be okay.

Meanwhile, Gabi deals with her mother's expectations of what it means to be a "good girl"  according to her culture and mother.  Her friends Cindy and Sebastian deal with their own life changing circumstances.  There is so much I want to say about this novel, but I don't want to give away too many spoilers.  I think that it paints a realistic picture of teen life no matter what culture that person is from. 

4 out of 5 stars
Copy borrowed from library


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