Review : How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, a 1991 fiction novel written by Julia Alvarez, is about four Spanish sisters; Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia, desperately trying to accommodate themselves into 1960's New York City. After their father's involvement in a conspiracy against a ruthless dictator becomes a threat to the family, they are constrained to fleeing to the United States from their familiar home in the Dominican Republic. The book is made up of a series of short stories revolving each of the sister's personal experience as well as their family as a whole. Written in reverse chronological order over a span of 30 years, the story begins with them already having experienced the stresses of adulthood, and then steadily regresses into their childhood.
The book is made up of three parts; the first part starts around 1989 (and ends in 1972), when the Garcia girls had lived in the United States for many years and were then fully Americanized. Yolanda, the second to youngest Garcia and the main narrator, returns to her original country after not visiting for five years. Once around all her family and the beautiful island, she starts to remember how good and simple her life used to be before divorces and nervous breakdowns. Sandra, too, had suffered with nervous breakdowns and ends up in a mental facility. Sofia, also known as Fifi and the youngest Garcia, upsets her father, Carlos, by falling in love with a German and running away with him. When the family celebrates Carlos Garcia's birthday and he meets his new grandson, Sofia's son, this helps relieve some of the tension between the two. Carla, the oldest sister, had become a psychologist and was happily married.
Part two in the book focuses more on the girls adjusting to life in New York. In the Dominican Republic, they were apart of the upper class, had maids, and were well pampered; but in America, one girl put it as; “We didn't feel we had the best...