This book is one of those books that wrote the book on how to write books.
That is, early 90s hybrid culture immigrant narrative. And this one is not exactly the one that did it first and did it best, but it is a very compelling book with alive characters that are funny and interesting. But I also think this book has the issue that a lot of these books have which is you can feel the marketing of the book at times in the very writing of the book. So while this book does have all those other good qualities it feels like you can sense a published saying: Ok, this is going to be our Dominican Republic book. We already have an Antigua book (Jamaica Kincaid) and we already have our Cuba book (Christina Garcia) and we already have our Haiti book (Edwidge Danticat), so now we need our _______ book. And you can’t really blame the other for being marketed, because by rights, all she did was write a book. So my cynical take is all to say that I liked this book just fine and think it’s funny and weird, but it has that flavor of a product meant to stand in for a lot of other products, and the author, the book, and the reader deserve to have something somewhat more….or actually something somewhat less to think about.
But. It is a great book for teenagers to read because it narrates childhood really well and speaks to adulthood as a kind of end-product of early life.