... a raw and eloquent memoir ... at once nuanced, loving, empowering, and melancholic ... Readers feel the tension of Hudes’ adolescent and college years as she’s trying to figure out how to be; she doesn’t allow for easy binaries, nor does she attack who or what makes her question herself as she explores what it’s like to be a Latina girl, and later a Latina woman, in contemporary U.S. society ... Hudes intentionally resists tying together her experiences into neat narrative bows. My Broken Language prompts rethinking of the representation narrative, who it is designed for and who it liberates—if anyone—which will undoubtedly create roadblocks for some readers ... But there’s an undeniable catharsis in seeing such an excellent writer communicate what many Latinos struggle to express about language. It encourages a reevaluation of the relationship with language—no matter how fraught the inheritance. There is a brutal honesty that Hudes brings to Latina girls and women’s experiences, which is vital to understand as women strive to have their voices heard and believed.
... a play of a memoir, a dramedy complete with memorable scenes that powerfully replicate the themes of family separation and cultural alienation ... The characters stay with you. They are funny. They are fierce. They love so hard, and often, they’re in real trouble ... That’s the thing with this book. The great scenes, yes. The beautifully three-dimensional characters, sure. The strong voice of Alegría Hudes with her talent for telling us what things mean in a way that doesn’t keep us with coming up with meanings for ourselves ... And yet. The star of My Broken Language are the words, so self-aware, so understanding of what they are composed of: music, meaning, memory, so able to see the true significance of the realities they are creating and also reflecting ... Hudes gives the word broken a new meaning.
... electrifying ... a rousing manifesto of Boricua pride ... Though injustice is never far from the narrative...Hudes doesn't get lost in a catalog of oppression. To do so would lose sight of her family's indomitable will to survive and thrive ... My Broken Language's evocative specificity carves out paradigms...for further exploration by generations of writers from the Latin American diaspora to come. Every sentence is filled with joy and resistance, every anecdote with the women's resilience that pulls the family forward ... Hudes writes with melody and rhythm ... She synthesizes the words to tell it how it actually is.
... Joyful, righteous, indignant, self-assured, exuberant ... in this extraordinary memoir [Hudes] actually remakes language so that it speaks to her world ... Like the best translators, Hudes occupies the in-between ... This is a book of bringing together dissonant stories, one that Hudes alone could write ... she has invented a language of love and to-the-bone happiness to tell stories only a Perez woman could share.
... riveting ... Hudes evocatively recalls life traveling between her abuela’s North Philly kitchen, her mother’s West Philly home, and her father’s farm in a homogenous Main Line suburb. Recollections of her mother’s and grandmother’s upbringings in Puerto Rico are rich with detail, as are depictions of aunts, uncles, and cousins who find their way in and around Philadelphia. Hudes is at her best when conveying the challenges of navigating two worlds—not feeling Puerto Rican enough to fully connect with her mother, and always feeling out of place when visiting her Jewish father and his new family. Her writing also thoughtfully details the shame and silence around AIDS, especially as it touched her family. To find solace amid grief and disappointment, Hudes turned to music and literature. The book’s powerful final chapters cover her time studying music at Yale and ultimately earning an MFA from Brown ... Hudes has written a can’t-miss love letter, in the form of a memoir, about the people and city that shaped her.
... joyful and vibrant ... While her language is abundantly fluid and evocative, what the title evokes is a life lived between two languages and two cultures ... Delightful phrases and vivid images abound.
... a tender yet defiant tale ... elegant and moving ... The text often reads like poetry, but it is also playful, the author toying with the barriers of language, and the narrative is propelled by the urgent notion that community matters in a world designed to push the have-nots further into the margins. It’s rewarding to see how, with the help of a loving mother and support network, Hudes derived power from her own culture and found success ... If the author’s worst fear is to be silent, she can rest assured that this memoir speaks volumes ... A beautifully written account of the importance of culture and family in a small but powerful community.
... astonishing ... The fine-tuned storytelling is studded with sharply turned phrases ... This heartfelt, glorious exploration of identity and authorship will be a welcome addition to the literature of Latinx lives.