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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter: A Book Review

Title: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Author: Erika L. Sanchez

Publisher: Ember

Copyright Date: 2017

Julia is growing up as the daughter of Mexican immigrants in Chicago. Until recently, she flew under the radar of her overprotective parents, because her older sister, Olga, held a monopoly on their attention. Olga never lied. Olga worked hard to bring money home. Olga went to community college. And most of all, Olga never dreamed of leaving home.

Until Olga is killed in a tragic accident involving a semi truck.

Julia’s story begins just a few weeks after the death of her older sister. She finds herself grappling with the trauma of losing Olga, and also the constant attention that is now shifted Julia’s direction. Olga had always been the perfect one, but now the traditional Mexican role of “Perfectly Obedient” child falls on Julia’s unwilling shoulders.

When Olga was around, Julia was able to fade into the background. Her parents had no idea that she and her friends had taken up smoking weed and promiscuous behavior and she would never dream of sharing that after high school she planned to go to college in NYC. Perfect Mexican daughters just didn’t do those things.

Working through her own grief led Julia to her beloved sister’s bedroom where she found a few items that led to the realization that Olga wasn’t the perfect daughter that Ama and Apa had believed her to be. She had a secret life–and Julia was determined to break into Olga’s laptop to prove it.

This is a story of a daring Mexican daughter going to great lengths to uncover her family’s secrets. This quest takes Julia to some dark corners and along the way she must deal with her own demons.

A tale of breaking stereotypes, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is a coming of age tale that puts readers into the shoes of a troubled teen trying to come-of-age by her own terms. With themes of grief, mental health, and strength Julia exemplifies growing up according to Mexican culture and she embodies the feminist values that so many young girls need to hear.

I really enjoyed this book. It moved a bit slow in the beginning, but that served to create a bond between readers and Julia. In the end, I felt that Julia’s character arc was beautifully articulated. She went from a bitter, troubled teen to an understanding daughter with a redemptive heart. I also enjoyed learning more about Mexican and immigrant culture through this book. Ama and Apa both immigrated to America shortly before Olga was born and so much of their journey shaped their lives as parents.

Check out my Goodreads account if you want to see what’s up next in my reading. And until I write again–curl up with a good book and find joy in the moments that you can escape into someone else’s story for a little while.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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