This short work of 191 small pages is laid out as a daily diary of twelve sessions with an advisor/counselor during which the author, a young woman, goes over her life as a Dominican Republic immigrant to the US in NYC. She deals with family and making the rent as well as finding a job suitable for her duties while taking care of family members and their children. To be honest, I was disappointed in it nearly all the way ... until I wasn't toward the very end. It wouldn't surprise me if some readers threw in the towel, but it's short and the wrap-up is worth the effort.
The writing is in English, or course, unless it isn't. The "isn't" is Spanish until it isn't, and then it becomes Dominican Republic slang. Got all that? There are a large number of names of people with whom the author recounts or interacts with, described in her twelve interviews, and I never could keep most of them straight. Actually, I didn't even care. That's not good. After falling behind on her rent and being evicted, or nearly so, the writer also studies for her citizenship test.
It is hard to read the trials and tribulations of the Dominican community, and as told here it simply became a steep slog at times for this reader. The final session, number twelve, culminates with both negative and positive events. All in all, I suppose the ending is positive. It is hard to imagine that books such as this are hits and considered successful. Why heck, it was a book club selection for me so clearly some are impressed. The ending makes the slog worth it if you can stay the course and master the language hurdles.
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Enjoy life; it's the only one we will get.
J.K. (Jim) George
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