I couldn’t help but notice how the fathers, including my own, got to decide so much about family life. Even small things, such as which room the fathers would play cards in, were determined in the same unquestioned way as the big ones, like which country we lived in and who was allowed to work outside the home. In my cousin’s bedroom, I asked Raquel if she thought Latino families were more sexist than others. (189)
Iris Gomez’s Try to Remember is a beautifully written coming of age story that follows Gabi, a teenage Colombian immigrant living in Miami with her family.
Gabi is caught between two worlds. On one hand, she tries to be the best daughter she can be and help her parents as much as she can, especially since her mother is struggling to make ends meet each month while her father slowly descends into mental illness. On the other hand, though she was born in Colombia and remembers her childhood with nostalgia, she is coming of age in America and finds herself questioning her place within both cultures.
One of the things I loved most about this book was its timelessness. Though it’s set in the 1970s, I would forget about the era until things like spirit duplicators, women’s lib, and Vietnam were mentioned. Although the events of the era undoubtedly shaped Gabi’s views, the majority of her thoughts were focused on her family and on her experiences as an immigrant (such as worrying about her family losing their green cards and getting deported). A lot of the themes that were relevant to her then are still relevant now.
This is an excellent book for anyone wanting to catch a glimpse of an immigrant experience.
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