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How to Be a Chicana Role Model Paperback – July 1, 2000

3.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Paperback, July 1, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The wisecracking, bicultural/bilingual, self-deprecating, post-Valley Girl author of Chicana Falsa once again serves up a slice of her own life, this time focusing on the lessons she has learned about being a writer and de facto role model. Chronicling the experiences and responsibilities of semisuccessful Chicana poet and writer "Michele Serros," the book is divided into a series of The House on Mango Street-style vignettes, each titled with a numbered "role model rule," like "Seek Support from Sistas" and "Honor Thy Late-Night Phone Calls from Abuelita." Sandwiched between these stories are thematic riffsAan ongoing debate with a conference organizer over an honorarium that was never paid, or correspondence with teacher fans who want to correct the fictional Serros's English or her Spanish. "Let's Go Mexico," one of the longer stories, is a humorous take on immersion language classes set in a tourist town outside of Mexico City. For all of Serros's witAand she can be absolutely hilariousAthere is a darker side to her humor. The fictional Serros moves from menial job to menial job. She recognizes that like her father (a "brown ghost" to his Anglo co-workers), she is too often either invisible or assumed to be a maid, and that Latinos can be as prejudiced as whites. She takes several swipes at academics and critics who assume that one Latina writer is much like another. She comes down especially hard on anyone who doubts her talent: "To my family, writing was not important. Writing was somewhat selfish. Writing was just plain rude." Though this outing lacks some of the fizz of Chicana Falsa, Serros turns out a funny yet poignant defense of her craft. 4-city author tour. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Serros (Chicana Falsa, not reviewed) offers an unusual second fiction, a work that defies single classification. The story of Michele Serros, it's a sly, hyperkinetic romp that's part story collection, part stand-up comedy, part self-help for aspiring writers.Instead of chapters, Serros supplies the reader with 13 rules that could have come under the heading I Didn't Know It Would Be This Way. Serros's road to UCLA and publication is pockmarked with misconceptions, some hilarious, others sad. Asked to attend a Chicana writers' conference, she arrives to discover that she's been hired to serve food, not read her poetry. But this energetic young woman doesn't let the croissants or an apron stop her from reading at open mike, after which a small-press publisher offers his card, prints her book, then leaves her with boxes of copies to hawk on her own. No matter what she does, Serros is alternately confused and amused by the contradictions around her. She's hired to model for an artist because of her Mexican nose, the one feature she dislikes most in herself. Fellow Latinos and Latinas frown upon her for not speaking Spanish well, yet she receives instructions from a fan urging her to be more universal by dropping the Spanish from her work. Even her friend Martha Reyes tells her to make yourself less Mexican, less girl in trying to insure Serros a reading public. The best rule, however, comes from Aunt Tura: If you want a real story, you need to look in your own backyard more often. Indeed, only when Serros creates vivid family scenes are we drawn effortlessly into a world she cares about. Once her defensive guard is down, her gift for dialogue emerges, along with that rare ability to move readers toward complexity of emotion and thought--the things that make this not quite accomplished yet exciting new fiction distinctive.An interesting--and maybe even a promising--start -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade; 1st edition (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573228249
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573228244
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I read Chicana falsa, I loved Michelle Serros's sense of humor, and her ability to make the best of a negative situation, and her collection of advice on How to be A Chicana Roll model was not a dissapointment. I looked forward to this novel and I am sad that it has ended. Thank you Michelle for making light of a serious issue, showing not weakness but a lot of strenght. Look forward to your next one.
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Format: Paperback
"How to be a Chicana Role Model" was really an inspiration to read, considering I personally had trouble thinking that others could view chicanos and role models in a single sentence. Being a chicana myself, I started thinking like what others viewed me as and became insecure. I had trouble identifying as american because i don't look caucasian and I couldn't be seen as mexican by my own people, because i don't tend to fit the stereotype. I felt like "Ni de aqui, ni de alla". I appreciate how Michele Serros addresses that issue in both her books and how she really wants the world to know that she is proud of what she is. I know that makes me as a latina,proud right along with her. As a college student here at UC Berkeley I totally recommend this book to EVERYONE! If you aren't chicano, so what? At least you will experience through michele what being chicano is all about. she brings her story to life! By the way, Thank you cris for recommending this book to me!
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By A Customer on March 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
I just put the book down, I can't wait to read Chicana Falsa. The best thing about the book is that it dealt with the life of a young and struggling Chicana with humor. For the non-Chicanas, it is a great glimpse into our world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reviewed by: Sandra
A Latina Book Club

Review: This is a collection of fiction from a strong, witty, and intelligent chicana writer. In these rules, Michele Serros writes about being a “chicana role model” based on tales and experiences.

Rule #1: “Never Give up an Opportunity to Eat for Free” because, if you do, you never know who you might meet, like a publisher maybe.

With her cynical humor, Serros reminds you “of how detoured a career can go and what a waste a college degree could be [because] everyone knows you’re around just to separate Sweet n’ Low from sugar, take phone messages, or tape off seats in the studio audience.” (27) However, for Serros, “writing granted [her] freedom…it gave voice to all the opinions [she] was too afraid to say out loud for fear of sounding unladylike or babyish by family members, classmates, or stupid neighbor[s].” (41)

I loved this book! This was a true road map for the frustrated and relentless author. Written in a diary-entry format, Serros relives her days as a young aspiring writer from the days she sold books out of her garage to the numerous times she called regarding an honorarium for a gig—a real inspiration for many of us!

As her father used to say, “you know…all the Latinos in this country, heading political offices and creating careers with dishwater hands, but you never hear our stories, see our lives on the big screen.” (71) “Being Mexican, [we grow] up to understand that missing work is bad. Very bad. A Mexican without a strong work ethic? Come on!” (94) Serros’ book is a humorous testament to the hard-working Latinos, the largest minority in the U.S.

Rule #8: “Reclaim your Right as a Citizen of Here, Here”

I saw a lot of myself in this book.
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Format: Paperback
I love this book. I purposely went to the bookstore looking for a book written by a Chicana/Latina that I could relate to. I am not an immigrant, although my parents are. I did not grow up in the barrio. As a matter of fact I was known as the "coconut" in high school. This was a series of stories about a young woman trying to do her thing and she happens to be Chicana. It is not her entire identity. Finally, a book I can relate to.
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Format: Paperback
After perusing the other reviews of this book posted by other Amazon users, I felt compelled to respond to some of the scathing critiques that I noticed. I've noticed that several readers compared Serros' writing to that of Sandra Cisneros and Ana Castillo, and must concede that indeed her writing is unlike those authors. However, her aim as a writer does not seem intended to emulate some of the more sophisticated Chicana authors such as the aforementioned two; otherwise, she would have incorporated an abundance of big words into her stories and attempted to give her writing as much of an intellectual tone to it as possible. Serros' intention seems to be the opposite; she writes candidly and in a manner that will make her book readable by people of all educational levels and social classes.
From what I gathered from reading the book, her aim isn't to provide stories told from the perspective of some kind of distinguished intellectual, but from a down-to-earth Chicana who is just trying to get by in this world while pursuing her passion of writing. She seems to have written "How To Be a Chicana Role Model" with the objective of appealing to even those who may not actually enjoy reading most books because her stories are told from the heart and are easy for youth to relate to.
If you take the book for what it is and are able to bear that in mind while reading it, I'm sure you will immensely enjoy "How To Be a Chicana Role Model." It is just the right mixture of humorous and poignant, and will have you cracking up at some parts while leaving you with watery eyes at other parts. In all honesty, I am never able to set this book down once I pick it up because no matter how many times I read it, I am drawn in all over again by how entertaining yet moving Serro's writing truly is.
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