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My Broken Language


A Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright tells her lyrical coming of age story in a ...
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Quiara says, "My Perez women were messy derelict squalor. My English dad was manicured Americana." Do you think this is a fair assessment of her parents?

Created: 01/06/22

Replies: 11

Posted Jan. 06, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2913

Quiara says, "My Perez women were messy derelict squalor. My English dad was manicured Americana." Do you think this is a fair assessment of her parents?

Quiara says, "My Perez women were messy derelict squalor. My English dad was manicured Americana." Do you think this is a fair assessment of her parents?


Posted Jan. 06, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PinkLady

Join Date: 01/22/18

Posts: 123

RE: Quiara says, "My Perez women ...

Not really. Her mother was strong. Hard working and maybe rough around the edges but true to herself and her family. I see squalor as seedy, no values- that wasn't the case. I guess her Dad was a bit manicured but in a good way


Posted Jan. 06, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 603

RE: Quiara says, "My Perez women ...

I do think it's fair, in the context of the book. Her father and his new family were staid & conventional, while her Cuban family was much more open, much freer, much less censored. She clearly believes the abandon with which her mother's family lived was the way to approach life.


Posted Jan. 06, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathyoc

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 156

RE: Quiara says, "My Perez women ...

I think one of the interesting aspects of this memoir was the way the author made broad statements then proceeded to wear away at them through examples. The Perez women all loved their children and sacrificed for them. Quiana's dad certainly started out as less than manicured, but did seem to be shaped into someone else by his second wife.


Posted Jan. 07, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Mismela

Join Date: 12/03/21

Posts: 1

RE: Quiara says, "My Perez women ...

Quiara is being judgmental. I’m not condemning her for that because she’s been trained by traditional American expectations. Quiara is very perceptive, but it doesn’t take a genius to discover the acceptable standards. Her mother’s family is more “real” than most classically American families. They’re definitely more interesting.


Posted Jan. 07, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sjd

Join Date: 10/31/16

Posts: 7

RE: Quiara says, "My Perez women ...

I think the author felt the need to contrast her parents, and this was the one area of the book that rang “false” for me. Her father was certainly more “avant- guard” at the beginning of her story, and I do not believe that people change their basic personalities. I regret that the author had to use the “acting white” stereotype to describe her father’s later life.


Posted Jan. 07, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 265

RE: Quiara says, "My Perez women ...

Yes. She’s viewing her family through the lens that White America would use and that seems like an accurate assessment of how people of color are often viewed by the mainstream.


Posted Jan. 07, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 231

RE: Quiara says, "My Perez women ...

I think some of her feeling is hyperbole even if she would not recognize it as such. The point is she viewed her parents at opposite ends of the cultural spectrum and she was very conflicted in the space between. I also agree with melanieb that she is portraying them as she believes they are viewed.


Posted Jan. 09, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ssh

Join Date: 02/04/14

Posts: 51

RE: Quiara says, "My Perez women ...

This type of broad statement bothers me. I accept it as a personal conclusion, but I don't trust it as objective or accurate.


Posted Jan. 09, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marilyn T.

Join Date: 05/22/21

Posts: 8

RE: Quiara says, "My Perez women ...

I agree that this broad observation is ironic. It comes following her parents' divorce, and reflects nine-year-old Quiara's state-of-mind as she commutes between her two homes. She has a growing awareness of loss as her father cuts his long hair, and marries a cruel woman, who refuses to let Quiara be in any of the wedding photos. This observation also reflects Quiara's dawning awareness of how society judges her mother's loving family; a view that is proven wrong through many examples and incidents in Quiara's story.


Posted Jan. 18, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 342

RE: Quiara says, "My Perez women ...

Quiara may have actually said this (I honestly do not remember and am not sure where to start looking), but I wonder also if she was describing her family as others see them. I am thinking particularly about the debate she had in one of her high school classes about welfare queens. People are often characterized, unfairly, by where they live. How often might we look at the conditions of one's home and neighborhood and then make assumptions about them- -poor, neglectful, fat, drug addicts, lazy. Yet, once we enter abuelita's home, we are able to feel the togetherness, love, spirituality, and joy. The family was messy together and supported one another the best they could.

Her father was a former hippie- -it was unclear if he was ever really employed. Yet, he was afforded the opportunity for a suburban life that looked nice on the outside- -most likely due to the fact that he was white. It wasn't pleasurable from the inside. It was devoid of love and acceptance, but it looked "normal", which is often what a child wants more than anything-not to stand out, not to be different.

As a child of divorce, I can understand Quiara's comparisons of her parents. I, too, compared my mom's family with my dad's family, ultimately choosing the one that made me feel more comfortable with who I am.


Posted Jan. 21, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susannak

Join Date: 01/06/22

Posts: 5

RE: Quiara says, "My Perez women ...

Spoken in her words so yes, I agree with her description of her parents. Her descriptions of both were easy to picture them in your mind. Two different worlds.


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