Quiara was awed by her aunts and uncles and cousins, but haunted by the secrets of the family and the unspoken stories of the barrio; even as she tried to find her own voice in the sea of language around her, written and spoken, English and Spanish, bodies and books, Western art and sacred altars.
... 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.
... 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.