In these essays, first-generation American Jennine Capó Crucet explores the condition of finding herself a stranger in the country where she was born. Raised in Miami and the daughter of Cuban refugees, Crucet examines the political and personal contours of American identity and the physical places where those contours find themselves smashed.
... remarkable ... a thoughtful exploration of what it means to be a first-generation college student, a child of immigrants, and a professor to boot ... explores the tension between immigrants’ culture and the American Dream, especially since, as the essays demonstrate so painfully, the American Dream wasn’t designed with immigrants (or people of color more generally) in mind ... While such moments of analysis can take the reader out of the memoir-like moments of the book — and thus the illusion that we’re simply reading autobiographical stories — Capó Crucet’s analysis is exactly why My Time Among the Whites is vital reading for Trumpian times ... Capó Crucet’s clear-eyed examination of whiteness demonstrates that Trump isn’t what ails us; he’s the symptom, not the disease ... emerges as a salve. It incisively traces the ideologies that led to Trump, such as the American Dream, and indicts our adherence to these ideologies, many of which are deeply internalized.
Crucet’s well-written essays are entertaining and accessible, without letting readers or the author herself off the hook for reflecting on and addressing cultural issues. Strongly recommended for all readers.
Crucet's prose is conversational and largely free of flourish, imagery, or metaphor (with, however, a strong penchant for parentheticals). Her structures are looping and elliptical, seeming to go in different directions, until she pulls them together at the end, when you realize that the sentences don't need symbols, because the whole essay has been symbolic ... If My Time Among the Whites teaches us anything, it may be that the metaphorical experience of being first-generation American Latinx is inseparable from any supposedly non-symbolic "real" thing. Crucet's section and essay titles are just as evocative and metaphorical as her book titles ... In its combination of realism and symbolism, the collection is also suffused with contradiction, in the best sense.