I found myself breezing through the first half of this book wanting to read more. This book so far has been the most intriguing for me. It is a step in a completely different direction in what we have been reading. The last couple readings have been good, but have seemed to me to be somewhat similar in their underlying themes; that is, assimilation. This book deals with assimilation but in a different manner than the other readings. The intense "papi" in the reading pushes his daughters into soaking up American culture while simultaneously keeping apart of their culture. This is a very tough thing to do for these girls. For example Yolanda recalls her first love and loss from University and the frustrations that come from it.
"I saw what a cold, lonely life awaited me in this country. I would never find someone who would understand my peculiar mix of Catholicism and agnosticism, Hispanic and American styles" (Alvarez,98). I thought this was a good summation of the book so far. Each chapter adds a little insight as to how Alvarez defines how culture and identity should be looked at. From what I can pull out so far is that there can be many different identities for one group of people. E.g. being Chicano can entail many different things to different people of that group. There isn’t one set of guidelines for being apart of a certain ethnicity. I find this to be intriguing because the father in this book seems to be encouraging yet detracting his daughters from investigating their own identities. The family itself is a quite obvious mixture of old and new. The two parents being representative of old ideals while the four girls represent the new integration. Alvarez though does make her characters a little too predictive, by making the first born leaning towards the conservative side while the youngest to be the rebel. Great read so far I’m looking forward to the second half.