Dominicana by Angie Cruz | Book Review

Hi everyone. I’m Rincey and this is
rincey reads. Today i’m going to be doing a book review on Dominicana by Angie
Cruz. This is a new release. I think it comes out in like September 3rd or like
early September. But it was actually released a little bit early through
book of the month. So if you are a subscriber to book at the month, you may
have seen this as one of the picks for August. So I picked it up through there.
And I ended up picking this one up kind of on a whim, like in terms of like
choosing to read it. I usually am not great about reading my book of the month
books right away all the time. But it was kind of just like sitting there and I
had like a free day and I was like, okay, I’m just gonna grab this one because
it’s on the top of my multiple piles of unread books. And I was immediately
hooked. So in this story you are following this girl named Ana Canción
and it starts off while she is 15 years old and living in the Dominican Republic.
And it takes place in like the 1960s. So yeah, she’s about 15 years old and the
story starts off with her talking about how basically she knows that her parents
are going to force her to marry this specific man who is significantly older.
I think he’s like in his 30s. And it’s mainly because like it’ll be a good
thing for the family. His family is like relatively wealthy, they own like a
couple of different businesses in town. He goes back and forth to America, and so
she can go to America and then potentially like bring the rest of the
family over. And it also creates this deal for them because they want to be
able to build things on her family’s land and stuff like that. So it’s
partially a business arrangement but partially like the guy’s actually
attracted to her. It’s kind of gross. So yeah, she’s basically forced to marry
this man and then move to the United States all by herself. And so you are
following her through her life or through like a period of her life as she
is forced into this marriage in order to help her family out and then like her
being almost completely on her own, immigrating to the United States, barely
speaking English, barely able to get by, things like that. If you read the like
the synopsis of this book on like the front flap or anything like that, there
is more information that’s given away. But I think that’s kind of a good enough
summary for you to kind of know what you’re getting yourself into with this
book. So like I said, I really enjoyed this book a lot. It like
pulled me in from the very beginning. Like I brought this book to work to read
during my lunch break and I accidentally took too long of a lunch break because I
was enjoying this book so much. Like I got so sucked into the story and the way
this book is written that I literally– legitimately like took too long of lunch break
and had to like rush back to my desk. So I think that gives you a pretty
good indication of like how I felt about this book. I’m always someone who will
enjoy a story about immigrants coming to the United States. That’s just how I’ve
always been and how I probably always will be. And I really enjoyed this one
because I think it provides a really interesting perspective. One of the
things that it does is, because these characters are from the Dominican
Republic, it also talks about some of the things that were happening in the
Dominican Republic in like the 60s and 70s. And you get to know a little bit
about like the history there and what life was like there during that time
period. It paints this like very specific picture of being an immigrant in New
York City during this time period, not being able to speak English, being
completely dependent on someone else, things like that. I will say that this
relationship is abusive at a times. So trigger warnings for that. But the main
character Ana is a really fantastic character because she has such strength
and spirit to her and she doesn’t really back down. Not that like if you’re in
abusive situation and you do sort of like quote-unquote back down that
there’s something wrong with you. But it’s nice to see a character who is
willing to stand up for herself and sort of be resilient in her own way and
things like that. Obviously she’s like very, very young when she does get
married and moves to the United States. So she’s very naive about a lot of things,
and she gets taken advantage of in different ways and put in some very
precarious situations. And she’s put in these places where she has to deal with
this push and pull of like what she actually wants with her life versus like
what’s best for her versus what’s best for her family. It talks a lot about the
obligations that people feel, especially when they immigrate to the United States
from other countries, to like support their families back home send back money.
People assume that if you’re in the United States, you are doing just like
great and have all the money in the world and can do all of the things. And
obviously that is not the case. And so dealing with that sort of tension and
that like half lie, half truth that you’re living and things like that, missing your
family back home, missing all of your experiences, the food, things like that.
All of that is explored really, really well in here. There’s also some like
really complicated relationship stuff that’s happening in here. It’s a book
where there are a lot of these characters who are faced with choices
and often make like the “worst choice” quote unquote, or like the poor choice.
But you can kind of understand their motivations and why they’re making the
choices that they’re making, which is the thing that I always really enjoy in
stories. Yeah, I just really feel that this is a really fantastic coming-of-age
story. You get to watch Ana over the course of like at least like five years,
I think, and see her grow up and see her learn what she’s good at and what she’s
not good at, and figure out her life in the United States. It’s really wonderful
when you see people like immigrate to the United States being really afraid
and fearful of the life ahead of them and being really unsure of themselves,
and then watching them to grow and find their place in this country and figure
out what they’re good at and just thrive in general. I’m sure there’s a lot of
things in here about like the Dominican culture that I didn’t really pick up on
just because I’m not Dominican. But there’s a lot of really great stuff that
I think that anyone who has people or has immigrated to the United States
themselves or just immigrated in general can really, really relate to.
If there’s one quibble I have with this book it’s that the ending started to
feel a little bit too tidy for me. There’s a lot of like loose ends that get
tied up in specific ways, which obviously I’m not going to get into because
spoilers. But there’s a lot of loose ends that get tied up in a way that feels a
little bit too neat to me. But other than that, I think that this book does a
really great job of talking about the complicated experiences of being an
immigrant in the United States, which again I’m always here for. So that is my
super quick review of Dominicana by Angie Cruz. Let me know down in the
comments below if you pick this book up yourself or are planning on picking up this
book. Or feel free to always come back and comment if you read this book later
on. Or if you have any questions about the book, you’re always welcome to leave
that down in the comment section as well. So yeah, that’s all I have for now and
thanks for watching.

7 thoughts on “Dominicana by Angie Cruz | Book Review

  1. I have an ARC of this and can't wait to finally get going on it. Angie Cruz is a really good author and I've been waiting a long time for her to release a new book.

  2. I just read the ARC and loved it! My only issue was that there were no quotation marks for the dialogue, so it was slightly confusing at some points.

  3. I got this from BOTM too and while I also have a tendency to let them sit for a while, I definitely want to pick this one up soon. I also love immigrant stories, and I don't think I've read many focused on people from the Dominican Republic, so that will be super interesting to learn about.

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