Rivera has opened the window to the world of what struggling Hispanic families had to endure just to become an almost invisible dust particle on the sill of America. This book captures the true essence of latin struggle and desperation to find a better life, the rigors of the ruthless yet merciful city (New York), and the good times though turbulent times. This book captures the pain, and frustrations of the Hispanic community coming to a newland, seeing it through the eyes of a developing juvinile into his manhood. This is a small nich in the historical carvings of being Hispanic. Thank you Mr. Rivera for writing this autobiography. As a young hispanic youth growing up in Corona, Queens during the early 80's, I can relate to the struggles your family and yourself have undergone. I was born in New York, but my father shared the same sufferings your father had upon migrating to America for a better life. He told me stories of living in the Dominican Republic and seeing pure poverty, then coming to America to work like a mule for close to nothing, saving every penny to bring my mother over and their new born daughter. We survived in a one bedroom apartment for 14 years...we were seven kids then. "My father also wears glasses fit for microscope". This is a great book, I hope you enjoy it as I have.
I met Ed Rivera personally two years ago. He taught creative writing at a college in New York City. I've just read this book now, almost six months after he passed away and it is incredible how inspirational he can be, both in person and in the written word. In Family Installments, Ed Rivera has set the example for future writers. He has done something that not even Piri Thomas, with all due respect, did in his novel, Down These Mean Streets. Ed Rivera presented a story that truly captures the Latino's experience, from the native country all the way to life in the United States, mainly in New York City. Ed Rivera tells this story with a clever blend of grimness and humor that is difficult to imitate. His characters are powerfully vivid and his prose is rich and sharp. These details are what bring the story to life. But what adds to the charm of the story is the way Ed Rivera can make even the most difficult and embarassing situations very humorous. The book is a real treat for Latinos and non--Latinos alike. I give it five stars.
This book takes you on a journey from a small town in the rural sector of Puerto Rico to the struggles Puerto Ricans faced and still face in the U.S. Rivera captures experiences so vividly, one can have a clear mental picture of what ia going on. This book captures your emotions and ties you to the story-line and lives of these characters.
Edward Rivera was my first cousin our family is very proud of what he acomplished in his lifetime, although when some family members read the book they were a little apprehensive, especially the older ones about his recounting personal and family situations in those times he patiently explained to them that part was fiction and he based the story on their experiences. I was'nt even born when they left Puerto Rico but I heard those same stories from family members, my own family left the island to live in the US but I was younger than Edward and we did'nt have to go through the same struggles they did, they were different times we did good. We always stayed in contact with them, he was very proud to be puertorrican, he paved the way for his younger brother Richard who became a lawyer and very we'll known in NY and achieved many things for the underprivileged which were his passion sadly he also passed in the prime of his life.. I feel I had to tell the story to honor him because he loved his family and loved writing and a mighty good sketcher also. The photos on the cover of the book are his mom, dad and Richard.
Family Installments was published in 1982. I didn't hear of it until earlier this year when Junot Diaz recommended it in an interview. Am I glad I read it! Reading Rivera's collection of interconnected short stories--scenes from a Puerto Rican immigrants' life and the lives of those about him--left me with the same satisfied feeling I had when i first picked up Diaz or Sherman Alexie or Larry Brown. Here is a man presenting an authentic voice of his character and his character's people. Great read!