I had been seriously slacking on reading during quarantine - I hadn't felt like it, I hadn't come across anything super inspiring to read - I had picked up one or two books but nothing really drew me in enough to keep going.
Last week, I came across a list of recommendations and this one caught my eye. I checked it out on Libby, and it was available. It caught my attention because, in case you didn't know this - my husband is Dominican! I devoured this book in three days - giving up precious sleep and staying up entirely too late because I wanted to finish it.
Dominicana is a heart-wrenching, uplifting story told from the point of view of Ana Cancion, a 15 year old girl living in the Dominican countryside. With the promise of money and papers, her parents marry her off to a man twice her age, Juan Ruiz, and he brings her to New York.
She is more or less confined to their six floor walk up in Washington Heights. She is lonely and miserable, and she's received none of the things her husband had promised. He has a side piece, and he's an abusive drunk. She comes up with a plan to escape and is intercepted by her brother-in-law Cesar, who convinces her to stay. Soon after, Juan has to leave to the Dominican Republic to protect the family's assets during political turmoil, and he leaves Ana in Cesar's care. With Juan away, Ana is free to learn English, venture out into the city, and learn to take care of herself.
When Juan returns to New York, he tells Ana that her family will be joining them shortly, and she has to decide whether she will maintain her duty to her family or follow her own heart.
The book is told from Ana's point of view. The style of writing is different from what I am used to, and took some time to read naturally to me, but it made sense coming from the point of view of a 15 year old girl. I love reading immigrant stories, and this one is different because it's not a perspective I've read before. It makes a great summer read, too.
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