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Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina by [Cepeda, Raquel]
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Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Length: 337 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Abandoned by her mother, raised in Harlem by her violent father, Cepeda felt estranged from her family, except for fond memories of her grandparents in the Dominican Republic and her own intriguing image in the mirror. The hints of African and Indio she saw in the mirror were reflected in dreams as well, as spiritual guides occasionally made themselves felt at crucial times in her life. When her father suffered a near-fatal heart attack, Cepeda overcame her animus and spent a year searching for her tangled roots. Through DNA testing, she found the complexity of Hispanic heritage, a blend of indigenous Caribbeans (whose bloodlines were thought to be extinct), Africans, Amazigh, and European. Cepeda details painful memories of her highly dysfunctional family and the crushing adjustments of immigrants to an American culture that imposes race and ethnic categories in ways that defy history and the cultures of other nations. Drawing on the science of DNA testing and her own sense and experience of mysticism, Cepeda, an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker, offers a synthesis between logos and mythos in a thoroughly engaging look at race from a Latina’s perspective on what is touted as a postracial society. --Vanessa Bush

Review

“I applaud Raquel Cepeda’s courage and brilliance. This is an important book, shedding light on questions that many of us ask ourselves, but seldom speak about out loud.” (Marcus Samuelsson, chef and author of New York Times best-seller Yes, Chef )

“A thrilling and impassioned quest into the heart of the race question and the Latino—a label as we've come to understand it. With meticulous research and refreshing honesty, Cepeda breaks the code not only of her own origins, but those of an entire people. Bird of Paradise is a necessary and important book for our time.” (Patricia Engel author of Vida)

"In Bird of Paradise, Raquel Cepeda takes on, with cultural flair and brutal honesty, what it means to be the living embodiment of a global society. A Dominican-American woman seeking the truth about her roots, Cepeda uses tools including DNA testing and her reporterly skill for teasing out family secrets. What she finds is a revelation not just for her or for Latino Americans, but for anyone who cares about the way the past connects us to the future." (Farai Chideya author of Kiss the Sky and Don’t Believe the Hype)

“Snappy, jazzy memoir of a Dominican upbringing by a New York journalist and documentary filmmaker…asserts that constructing one’s identity requires expressing and celebrating its makeup.” (Kirkus Reviews)

"Raquel Cepeda has long been one of the hip-hop community's most passionate and visionary writers and filmmakers; now, with this stunning blend of memoir and reportage, mythos and logos, we will have to share her with the world. An elegant, electric mash-up, Bird of Paradise offers resonant snapshots of a bygone New York City, family portraits saturated with beauty, honesty, and pain, captivating travelogues, and a fascinating, wide-angled look at ethnicity and identity. Cepeda's story is wrought with care and insight – and ought to increase the sale of DNA testing kits by about twelve thousand percent." (Adam Mansbach #1 New York Times bestselling author of GO THE F**K TO SLEEP and RAGE IS BACK)

“A beautiful story of reconciliation and redemption.” (The Huffington Post)

"I hope that Raquel Cepeda's experience searching for her roots will encourage more Latinos to look at themselves with the same honesty and fierceness." (Esmeralda Santiago )

"...a fascinating mix of different avenues of spiritual influences." (International Society of Genetic Genealogy )

"At a time when Latinas of any age struggle with owning our voice and our identity and dealing with the mixed messages they get from this country—'We love you, we hate you! Stay! Go!'—Raquel Cepeda opens her heart and shows us all a new and real path towards the futuro, the future. I believe this book is transformational and will not only change lives, but save them too." (Maria Hinojosa, NPR and PBS anchor, and executive producer of Latino USA )

“Drawing on the science of DNA testing and her own sense and experience of mysticism, Cepeda, an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker, offers a ‘synthesis between logos and mythos’ in a thoroughly engaging look at race from a Latina’s perspective on what is touted as a post racial society.” (Booklist, starred review )

“I’m so appreciative of the book. It’s the science of the DNA. It’s the personal narrative of the finding of the finding of the self. It’s a little bit of hip-hop thrown in there. It’s all those different things. It is really a lovely book.” (MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry )

“Cepeda’s complex family history is both uniquely Latino—the book is peppered with Spanish idiom—and paradoxically universal in this nation of immigrants. It will appeal to those who watch Who Do You Think You Are? and wonder about themselves.” (Library Journal )


Product details

  • File Size: 3727 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Reprint edition (March 5, 2013)
  • Publication Date: March 5, 2013
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008J4B5GW
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,977 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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