Read advance reader review of Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz, page 3 of 3

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Ordinary Girls

A Memoir

by Jaquira Díaz

Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz X
Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz
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  • Published Oct 2019
    336 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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There are currently 21 member reviews
for Ordinary Girls
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  • Brad B; B&N; Tucson, AZ
    Intersectionalism in Miami
    I am beyond happy that there are more female PoC's sharing their stories for others. There is an importance in these narratives that help others to be seen and it also informs us that our stories need to be told.

    Díaz's collection of stories/quasi-essays would have really benefited from a different editor. The non-linear structure kind of hurt the overall arc showing just how far she has ascended from her past. That being said, this collection holds more than the identities it covers (female, queer, addict, mentally ill, daughter, sister, criminal, etc) what it offers is another way we fit into this chaotic mosaic of being a human. It feels comforting and scary all together knowing that there might be someone out there who also understands me.
  • Michele M. (Timonium, MD)
    Ordinary Girls
    Jaquira Diaz writes from her heart a bittersweet growing up journey which is anything but ordinary. From a lot of love for her family to terrors of poverty and abuse inflicted upon her as a young girl. Bonds of family and friendship seem to hold her together. Perhaps those early bonds helped so much to create the strong person she would grow up to be. Her story is one akin to The Glass Castle where the reader may feel very fortunate to have experienced an "ordinary" childhood in comparison. It is interesting and also appalling to read the raw truth of her experiences and surroundings, but promising in how she overcame the obstacles that surrounded her.
  • Dorothy M. (Broken Arrow, OK)
    Finding a Way Out
    Sandra Cisneros says of Ordinary Girls that Jaquira Diaz "is a wondrous survivor, a woman who has claimed her own voice." Look at this example of her prose when she goes to see Paula at the Mailman Center for Child Development and Diaz describes Paula: "She wore slacks and a short-sleeved blouse, except she was barefoot, with a toe ring and tattooed forearms, her brown curls messy and frizzy" (129). Sentences like that throughout the book draw readers into the scenes. Diaz continually surprises readers with the intensity of the moments when she interacts with other people or describes those people. Another time, Diaz reflects on her mother: "I would think of my mother, adrift in that city, alone. How she descended into madness, sometimes sleeping on the steps of the Miami Beach Post Office, sometimes in the hallway of a friend's building" (138-9). Diaz continues to make readers feel as if they are seeing through her eyes and experiencing incidents as she does. As I read, I couldn't help but think of Educated by Tara Westover and an even earlier book, The Glass Castle. Ordinary Girls is its own story though regardless of the reminders of other stories. Diaz gives an honest account of her experiences. I found the last chapter particularly gratifying because Diaz says, "We're not girls anymore. We are women now." And she goes on to explain what each woman she has described is now doing. Thus, Ordinary Girls gives us hope that regardless of the horrors the girls experienced, they have risen above them.
  • Cheryl W. (Crosby, MN)
    Spanish dictionary needed
    I overall liked this book and her story. I did not like that I needed a Spanish/English dictionary. I feel I missed some of her book trying to figure out the words. She tells of her childhood of abuse, sex and crime. She was all over the place in telling her story and at times it was hard to follow. Characters were introduced randomly and several times I went who is this. Family was important yet she spent years away from them. She bared her soul in this book.
  • Regiene P. (Crestview, FL)
    Tough to read, non-linear story
    I struggled to read this book. It was tough to read than I thought it would be because there were a lot of parts that, in my opinion, could have been left out. Storytelling within the chapter was a little bit rough and it could have had a better transition. The story is non-linear, which is fine, but for me, it was really hard to care for the character as much. There are good parts that made me laugh and smile because I could imagine how her adventures and experiences happen as they were told. Overall, I still consider it as a good read.
  • Melanie B. (Desoto, TX)
    Disjointed Story of an Extraordinary Girl
    Parts of this book read as if pieced together, combining both past and future thoughts and actions with a present storyline. I struggled to maintain the thread as I read through sections of the book. I admire the author's survival skills and ultimate triumph to become the writer she is today. However, I would have better enjoyed my reading experience had the writing style been more chronologically fluid.
  • Lois P. (Hillsborough, NC)
    Blazing Hot
    Jaquira Diaz shares her wild and crazy life with hopes that other girls will relate and perhaps realize that they are not alone with their sufferings. I found this a tough read due to not being familiar with Puerto Rican culture or the Spanish that was interspersed throughout. I kept hoping for Jaquira's life to stabilize and it almost never did.
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