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Check It Out: Dominicana by Angie Cruz

This is Michael Maxwell with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.

Today, I am recommending Dominicana by Angie Cruz.

Dominicana follows Ana, a 15-year-old Dominican girl as she ventures from her familiar family home in the Dominican Republic to the uncertain streets of New York City in 1965. How does a fifteen-year-old make her way to a new country like that? Well, when her family marries her off to an older man it turns out she has little choice.

Ana quickly realizes her arranged marriage is not what it seems, and she’s basically facing her new home on her own. If anything, her new husband is just another obstacle as he becomes increasingly abusive- isolating her and striking her whenever he sees fit. Soon, Ana is pregnant and worrying about how to become a mother when she’s still learning how to be a wife and a woman.

It’s in this alienating atmosphere that Ana must also learn how to survive in America. When the Dominican Republic falls into an armed conflict and Ana’s husband takes a two-month long trip back home in order to protect his business interests, Ana sees an opportunity to pursue her dreams. She attends local English classes, paints her nails, and begins managing a side business so she can store some cash for herself. Ana explores this newfound independence alongside her new brother-in-law, and they take turns sheltering one another from the hostilities of the bustling big city.

While I read this book, I felt like I lost myself in the character of Ana and was living inside her brain. You feel like you’re learning how to survive alongside her, and this is what drives the narrative to its unpredictable and harrowing conclusion.

Check out Dominicana by Angie Cruz at the Sioux City Public Library today!

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Verde Outdoor Media.

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