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America's Dream Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (April 25, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060928263
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060928261
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #664,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

America Gonzalez has more than her share of concerns. She is a hotel housekeeper on an island off the Puerto Rican coast with an abusive lover, a drinking mother and a 14-year-old daughter who's run off with her boyfriend. So Gonzalez takes a drastic step by taking a job as a housekeeper with an affluent couple in Westchester, New York. Running away from her problems doesn't really work, though, as new worries arise and old problems rear their ugly heads. The novel is Esmeralda Santiago's second consecutive acclaimed work, following on the heels of When I Was Puerto Rican. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Santiago, author of the memoir When I Was Puerto Rican, establishes herself as a strong and irresistible new voice in fiction with this story of a Puerto Rican woman who comes to America and discovers herself. America Gonzales, 30, cleans hotel rooms on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. Her 14-year-old daughter, Rosalinda, has run away with a boyfriend, and America grieves that her daughter has not learned from her mistakes. America is, and has always been, Correa's woman, even though Correa has a wife and family a ferry ride away. Correa, the walking embodiment of blind, brutish machismo, comes to see America whenever he likes, sleeps in her bed and-as often as not-beats her. But an escape presents itself when the Leveretts, a young American couple whose kids America babysat when they stayed at the hotel, call from their Westchester home and ask her to be a nanny to their two young children. Her new life in suburbia and a tentative new love are overshadowed by the growing terror and certainty of a final reckoning with Correa. Lush descriptions of the sights, smells and sounds of the island pervade the early chapters; later, America's take on Westchester and her cousins in the Bronx is full of deliciously keen observations. As she charts America's emerging sense of self, Santiago shows us America's-and America's-life with wry insight. With its seamless construction, saucy dialect and clear prose, this novel is involving and immediate, truthful and tender. Major ad/promo; author tour; U.K. and translation rights: Aaron Priest agency; first serial and dramatic rights: Molly Friedrich.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Este libro es buenisimo!!!!
"ms-rabbit"
This book is really a page turner I read it all in one day because I wanted to keep finding out what would happen next.
DSTGlamourGyrl
The main theme of the book is spousal abuse and it's consequences.
Hector V. Troya

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Hector V. Troya on May 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading America' Dream and I highly recommend it. The main theme of the book is spousal abuse and it's consequences. America, the main character, I think, represents the many Latinas who are victims of the old, but thriving mentality of the Latino men and culture. The book gives a pretty good feel of life in a Latin American country. It also portraits what is like to be a Latina servant in the United States. The story is a descriptive and accurate portrait of a woman's anguish and suffering, and her road to self-sufficiency. As a Latino man I was never offended by the depiction of America's nemesis her lover Correa. On the contrary, I give Esmeralda Santiago praise for daring to portrait the agony that is part of many Latinas and other women's everyday lives.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read America's Dream over a year ago but America's story still sticks with me. As an American born citizen, I still could relate to her struggle with achieving independence in spite of all the forces that worked against her: her somewhat puzzling love for her husband in spite of his abuse; her tolerance of her mother's preoccupation with controlling her life; her struggle to influence her daughter in spite of a culture that deceives her into believing that she can gain independence through a relationship with a man. As a "professional" woman of color, I could even identify with her relationship with her employer. This is a fascinating story.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a native of Vieques, I felt especially honored that Ms. Santiago selected our Island as the location for her book. Because I frequently visit Vieques, I was able to visualize every part of the island. "America's Dream" represents women all over the country that believe that there is no way out of dificult situations. However, good or bad, America finds that you really don't have to remain in these situations. You really must have the thrive to excel and the power to succeed. Estoy muy orgullosa de usted Sra. Santiago. Me da mucha alegria de nunca olvide sus raizes. Continue con "LATINA POWER"
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Manola Sommerfeld on November 23, 1997
Format: Paperback
I applaud the author's decision of not taking the easy way out with this novel. The main character, America, is a battered woman. The father of her child has been beating her constantly for half of her life. She has known nothing but violence from this man. In addition to this, America has to deal with a rebellious spoiled daughter and an alcoholic mother. Even thought America reaches for strength inside herself and flees the country and her lover and even her family, she does not have the guts to pull the situation through. Overwhelmed by her independence, and ultimately by her own insecurities, she seriously considers going back to the same old torture she escaped. And here is where i see most merit: it would have been so easy for Esmeralda Santiago to portray America as a heroine who fought against oppression and violence and came out victorious. America surrendered, and this is a very real perspective on battered women, because unfortunately there are many that give up on hope and cannot escape the terror they have lived. Kudos to the author for her decision. After i read the book i kept thinking about different issues in the story, and this is why i think this book would be excellent for a group discussion. Another good topic is the relationship between America and her daughter, and on a broader perspective the perpetuation of the single-mother status in her family. America asks herself this question many times : what should have i done to prevent this from happening to my daughter? The dynamics between mother and daughter are very real. All the characters are extremely believable and very well-defined: the abusive husband, a charming manipulator that gave me the creeps more than once; America's employer in NY, so cold, so Anglo, so perfect; the culture shock episodes America goes through have a very familiar ring. The book becomes sluggish at times, but over all it is quite interesting.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MATILDA on August 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
AMERICA SANTIAGO IS A WOMAN WHO DOES NOT ASK FOR MUCH AND UP TO THE OPENING OF THE BOOK HAS NOT RECEIVED MUCH EITHER. IF SHE WERE TO BE GRANTED THREE WISHES THEY WOULD CERTAINLY BE THAT HER ALCOHOLIC MOTHER GIVE UP HER HABIT, THAT HER DAUGHTER ROSALINDA NEVER DO WHAT SHE DID IN BECOMING A TEENAGED MOTHER AND THAT HER MASOCHISTIC BOYFRIEND WHO IS ALSO THE FATHER OF ROSALINDA STOP TRYING TO BEAT HER TO DEATH.
THE FIRST HALF OF THE BOOK TAKES THE READER TO THE SMALL ISLAND OF VIEQUES THAT FLOATS OFF THE EDGE OF ITS MOTHER ISLAND OF PUERTO RICO. IT IS A GOOD PLACE TO BEGIN BECAUSE THOUGH IT POSSESSES BEAUTY.IT IS UNDER OUTSIDE CONTROL VERY MUCH LIKE AMERICA HERSELF. THE U.S. NAVY USES IT FOR BOMBING PRACTICE AND COREA USES AMERICA FOR WHATEVER HE IS IN THE MOOD FOR AT THE MOMENT.
AMERICA IS FACED WITH HAVING TO LEAVE THE THINGS CLOSEST AND DEAREST TO HER. HER PLACE OF BIRTH, HER MOTHER AND HER DAUGHTER. WHILE NONE OF THOSE THINGS BRING HER GREAT PLEASURE,THEY ARE A SIGNIFICANT PART OF HER. SHE WORKS AS A MAID IN A HOTEL MAKING JUST ENOUGH MONEY TO KEEP GOING,HER MOTHER IS A WORRY FOR AMERICA BECAUSE SEES HER LIFE BEING DESTROYED BY DESPAIR AND TH BOTTLE. NOT TO WORRY THOUGH TOO MUCH AMERICA,ESTERS LOVE INTEREST WITH THE HOTEL OWNER FILLS HER NIGHTS WHENEVE SHE GETS IN THE MOOD. HER DAUGHTER ROSALINDA SEEMS TO BE GOING THROUGH THAT DIFFICULT PERIOD OF NEEDING TO FEEL AS DIFFERENT FROM HER MOTHER AS POSSIBLE AND THE WAY TO DO THAT IS TO ALIENTATE HERSELF FROM HER BY ACTING DISCUSTED,DISGUSTING AND DETACHED.
AFTER A DISTURBING SCENE OF COREA FLEXING HIS MACHISMO EGO AND MIGHTY FIST,AMERICA TAKES AN OFFER TO MOVE TO NEW YORK TO HELP CARE FOR A SUBURBAN FAMILY. THE PLACE IS AS CULTURALLY DIFFERENT AS SWEDEN IS TO THE SUDAN.
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