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Almost A Woman

About the Book

Almost A Woman

The questions, discussion topics, and suggested reading list that follow are designed to enhance your group's reading of Esmeralda Santiago's Almost a Woman, the sequel to her moving and powerful memoir When I Was Puerto Rican. We hope they will provide you with a number of ways of looking at--and talking about--this vibrant story of an ambitious, headstrong teenager as she moves slowly out of the loving and safe but constricting grip of her Hispanic family and community and into the large and unimaginably different world of Manhattan.

At the age of thirteen Esmeralda must leave the familiarity, warmth, and vibrancy of Puerto Rico to live in a three-room apartment in Brooklyn shared by ten family members. Challenged by language barriers, cultural stereotypes, and her strict and fiercely protective mother, Esmeralda begins her triumphant struggle for identity and independence. By day she studies acting at Manhattan's Performing Arts High School and interprets for the family at city welfare offices; by night she accompanies her mother and sister to Latin dance halls, but on such a short leash that she does not have her first date until age twenty. Undaunted, she makes up for lost time in a romantic apprenticeship at once hilarious and heartbreaking. Filled with wisdom and humor, Esmeralda Santiago's story is both universal and personal: the immigrant's search for belonging, the adolescent's search for identity, and the daughter's fight, often at a great cost to herself, for independence from a beloved but too powerful parent.

Almost A Woman
by Esmeralda Santiago

  • Publication Date: September 7, 1999
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN-10: 037570521X
  • ISBN-13: 9780375705212