What It's About
The Story Behind the Story
What It's About
Is it possible to be Latina and 100 percent American at the same time? Can Latinas successfully weave their own traditional Latin views into the more liberal American way of life? Should Latinas date within their culture, even if they've had terrible luck trying?
The best young Latina writers in America pose these difficult questions, among many others, in this hot new nonfiction anthology from HarperCollins Rayo. The twenty contributors include 2002 Pen Prize winner, Nelly Rosario; CNN correspondent, Maria Hinojosa; American Family star, Jackie Guerra; acclaimed authors, Angie Cruz and Lynda Sandoval; and other prestigious writers, novelists, and journalists hailing from such publications as Time, Texas Monthly, Glamour, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times.
'Your Name is Sandoval,' in Border-Line Personalities: A New Generation of Latinas Dish on Sex, Sass, and Cultural Shifting
Genre: Personal Essay Anthology
HarperCollins Rayo/Release date: July 2004
The Story Behind the Story
My dad died in April of 1989, and although we had a contentious relationship while I was growing up, I made peace with our rocky connection long ago. I am proud to say that in a lot of ways I'm a lot like my dad, but it wasn't always that way. My dad was an alcoholic, and MAN did that make me bitter as a child, teenager, and young adult. When the opportunity arose to contribute to Border-Line Personalities, I knew I wanted to write about this pivotal relationship in my personal development. My essay is an unflinching look at one daughter's experience growing up with an alcoholic father, but I hope readers come away feeling uplifted and knowing that *I* know my dad did the best job he did with the resources he had at the time. And, HEY, I turned out okay. Thanks, Dad.
"Readers will have their own favorites, but no one should miss Maria Hinojosa's 'Ain't Dishin,' on her strong preference for sexual privacy, or Lynda Sandoval's painful essay on her relationship with her alcoholic father."
"This collection of 20 essays written by young Latina writers is provocative and raw."
New York Post Tempo
"Explicit about sex, families, and their own faults, and generous with their learned wisdom, these women's strong, insightful stories will affect readers of all backgrounds."
American Library Association Booklist
"Ultimately, the book is about the diversity of experience."
San Antonio Express-News
"The celebrity worship that has warped how thin we think we should be and what purse we should carry also has messed with what we think is Latina. It's not just Jennifer Lopez and her weddings, Salma Hayek and her Frida brows or Rosario and her maid uniform on Will & Grace. It's also 20 women, including this reporter, who share their honest and sometimes funny stories about fighting with their traditional mothers, struggling to learn Spanish and figuring out how to pass culture to their children in the newly released Border-line Personalities: A New Generation of Latinas Dish on Sex, Sass & Cultural Shifting."
"Told by American-born, English-first Latinas who are grappling with family, career, sex, and language, the stories are not for Latins only."
The New York Daily News
I grew up the youngest in a family of three girls. My eldest sister, Elena, got perfect grades, kept her room spotless and organized, hung up her clothes promptly, and spoke politely to everyone. Loretta, the middle child, flew under the radar most of the time but was also my dad's hunting and fishing pal, the son he never had. I will admit I was envious that Elena was a source of pride and Loretta the chosen buddy. I love my sisters, though, and never resented them for the roles they played in the family. I saved up all my enmity for Dad, and my role was being the unrelenting thorn in Father's side.
By preschool, I knew two things with absolute certainty: my dad was an alcoholic, a "bad word" that I only understood to mean he drank cheap jug wine with my uncles until I was embarrassed by his slurred speech, and his "disease" was something I would never be able to admit to my friends without dying of shame. I realized he'd never be the dear ol' dad of greeting card and sitcom lore, and I felt cheated out of the kind of daddy I believed every little girl deserves.
My first memorable disappointment came when I was a three-year-old student at Sunny Corners nursery school. One day, a fellow student, Norman, yanked my long hair back and planted a big kiss on my lips. I did what any self-respecting young girl would do after such an unwelcome assault: I cold-cocked him. The school administration frowned on this use of violence and punished me by scheduling, of all things, a marriage ceremony for me and Norman the Victimizer the following day. I was horrified, but I had faith my parents would put the kibosh on the wedding when they picked me up. As a teacher himself, surely my father would disagree with Sunny Corners' ludicrous marital punishment idea. This was before the days of time-outs, but couldn't they just spank me?
That afternoon, my teacher told my parents the whole ugly tale and the planned punishment. Now, my dad was an odd mix of liberal Renaissance man/educator and stereotypical Latino male. Literally from our diaper days, he raised us to become educated, self-sufficient, independent, critically thinking, Democratic-voting women…as long as we followed his rule to the letter. Still, I truly expected him to stand up for me and balk at the notion of marrying off his toddler daughter to a socially inept, sexual-deviant-in-training. To my horror, he didn't. On the contrary, during the drive home, I got a lecture about being "ladylike."
"I don't want to hear about you punching other children," Dad chastised from the driver's seat. "It's not how a girl should act. You should be ashamed of yourself."
"He pulled my hair and kissed me!"
"That's no excuse. And you'll have no television tonight."
Defeated, I went the route of passive protest for the heinous wedding ceremony. I wore an orange yarn wig and a death scowl for the duration, and refused to say "I do" or hold Norman's slimy, groping hand. I have one snapshot of the fiasco as proof, and I look grim. The experience was abysmal, except for the cake and Kool-Aid reception, of course.
This was the first in a long line of valuable lessons about what to expect in the way of paternal support, and it left me bitter.