Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $16.95
  • Save: $5.80 (34%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Gringa: A Contradictory G... has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Very good condition book with only light signs of previous use. Sail the Seas of Value.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood Paperback – September 22, 2009

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$11.15
$4.00 $0.01

Popular & highly-rated in Biographies & Memoirs
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
$11.15 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood
  • +
  • Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family
Total price: $14.71
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Melissa Hart grew up in Southern California. She earned her BA in literature from UC Santa Barbara's College of Creative Studies, and her MFA in creative writing from Goddard College. She taught at Ventura College and Santa Barbara City College before moving to Oregon. She currently teaches Magazine Writing at the University of Oregon, and teaches Introduction to Memoir for UC Berkeley's online extension program. The latter course is available to the general public.

Hart has led workshops for Oregon Writers' Colony, the Willamette Writers, North Coast Redwood Writers, and Oregon's chapter of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She teaches distance-learning Humanities courses for Laurel Springs School, and writes resource books for Teacher Created Resources.

Melissa Hart lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her husband, photographer Jonathan B. Smith, and their three dogs, five cats, and four rabbits. She enjoys international and local travel, gardening, running and hiking, and working with owls at the Cascades Raptor Center.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580052940
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580052948
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,110,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood

Coming of age is probably the most difficult, angst ridden time of our little lives (not to mention how fashion ridiculous we were) but for Melissa Hart, her girlhood went from ideal, to all of the above, including her parents divorce thrown into the mix but a divorce made all the more difficult by her mother leaving her father for another woman. In the 1970's, where a gay parent was even more taboo, Melissa and her siblings could only see their mother on weekends, courtesy of her father who thundered, "You can't be parented by two women. It's unnatural."

To make things even more interesting, the physical topography go from Manhattan Beach with her overbearing father, to Oxnard, California where her bohemian mother has establishes herself in a Latino neighborhood. Miss Hart's world of perfection and propriety with her loving but subservient step mother and tyrant of a father, chafes at every turn, for with her mother, she is encouraged to be herself and she learns to embrace the easy and genial Latino community. In turn this sparks her need to belong to a "culture" and the results are funny, heartrending and will strike an all too familiar chord in all of us.

No matter what era we came of age, no matter the circumstances, we all want to be accepted and belong, somewhere, somehow. With Miss Hart, the usual phases were complicated by not knowing which world she belonged. Moreover, if we doubted our sexuality, Melissa's doubt were exacerbated by wondering if she should be like her mom. Again the results of exploring those avenues are poignant, sometimes hilarious and always leaving her wondering if she will ever belong.

The best part of this book is traveling with Miss Hart and the cast of characters that populate her world.
Read more ›
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I loved it! In a nutshell, Gringa is the vivid retelling of a girlhood/young womanhood spent searching for a sense of place -- both internal and external. Lush, gorgeous images and tart, enjoyable dialogue keep us hooked until the end. This book is an intense, fast-paced and full-circle tale of a girl coming to terms with self-identity in the midst of complicated family dynamics. Every reader will enjoy Gringa, but women (mothers, daughters, young women struggling to solidify a sense of self) will feel an intense solidarity with the author and her shockingly honest depiction of the small daily traumas involved in growing up in the velvet vise of conflicting female role models and societal expectations. This is how memoir is supposed to be done! Hart keeps us hooked until the very end, and shows us through sometimes cringe-worthy scenes and careful shadow and light exactly what we need to reach the understandings that she does throughout her journey. I very much look forward to future books from this exciting author.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An authentic treatment of growing up in two different cultures in California. Tender, hilarious and heartfelt. Includes recipes for insight into the Spanish and Anglo cultures of Southern California. Excellent read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
In Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood, Melissa Hart finds her 1970s life in a Los Angeles suburb disrupted when her mother takes her three children and leaves the family's gated community to live in Oxnard, 60 miles away, with her Hispanic lesbian lover. For Melissa, her new life in the poor Latino neighborhood where they settle seems joyous and free. But it is interrupted again when her father appears with a court order for Melissa's custody saying, "You can't grow up parented by two women. It's unnatural."

And so the contradictions and conflicts begin. Melissa's longing to live with her counter-culture mother, rather than with her "normal" father and her stepmother, is maintained as a long thread throughout this memoir of a young girl's rebellion. She is conscious enough to appreciate her stepmother's efforts to be a good mother, but also knows that her father cannot understand her. She portrays her mother as a delightful, independent woman, but one who sometimes wonders how she produced her driven daughter. It takes fine writing and courage to give oneself the contrary, often unsympathetic, image seen in these pages--a young woman struggling to find her own path within very different and contradictory cultural and family expectations.

The secondary theme of Gringa is Melissa's deep desire to join the warm, Chicano community to which her mother seems to belong--a desire that is frustrated by her own middle-class Anglo background. She can't speak fluent Spanish and she has trouble making Hispanic friends. Her first serious boyfriend drinks, does drugs, and is uneducated. His Mexican family disapproves of her because she will not stay in the kitchen with the other women.
Read more ›
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
If you are a mother, straight or gay, you need to read Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood.
Author Melissa Hart describes an unyieldingly strong mother-daughter bond that cannot be broken by time, distance, or the mean-spirited court ruling, prevalent in the 1970s, by which courts cast aside responsible, loving, nurturing lesbian mothers and granted custody of their children to often cruel and abusive fathers.

Chapter-by-chapter, the memoir Gringa shows how both the mother and initially ten-year-old daughter deal with being allowed to see each other only a few days a month, and how the daughter-- seeking a new identity for herself, and desperate for a new life-- absorbs the Latino culture in the city in which her mother takes refuge from the father's continued threats.

We follow the daughter's transition through her telling of the story, but also through her recipes as she learns to cook. Each authentic , replicable recipe helps portray each phase in the girl's life through both its relevance to that life-stage, but also through her additional ingredients.

In her younger years:

Tortilla Flats: "Serve hot, garnished with a deep desire for someplace else."
While making White Girl Cookies: "Ponder your sentence of a lifetime of despair."
Indian Fry Bread: "Eat them under an oak tree with plenty of butter, honey, and rage."

Then, when she's older:

Chaulafan: "In your high-heeled fuchsia pumps, whisk four eggs in a bowl."
Flan: "Daydream about the boy with soulful brown eyes, as you beat three whole eggs together . . . ."
Student Council Satay: "First, cut your hair in an asymmetrical New Wave bob. Put on your drill team skirt and sweater, and get out a shallow pan.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood