Friday, November 21, 2008

The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez

Sitomer, Alan Lawrence. 2008. The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez.

I was born in the United States of America. That makes me legal.
Pero mis padres jumped the border to get here. That makes them illegal.
I have documents.
They don't.
I speak English.
They don't.
I have a social security number, a passport, and a license to drive.
They don't. They don't. They don't.
Actually, mi papi does have a social security number. Three of them. You can buy them for fifteen dollars apiece down at the taqueria.
I know it's wrong, but it's not like he's doing anything different from anyone else...

Sonia Rodriguez wants to graduate from high school. Desperately. Unfortunately, her family is getting in the way of her big dreams, her big hopes for a brighter and more stable future than her parents have provided. The book is her journey of how she gets there, gets to the finish line.

There were many good things about the novel. I enjoyed it for the most part. The narrator was likable. Was believable. Felt authentic. And her family was as well. Her parents. Her siblings. Her drunk uncle or drunkle. Her grandmother and cousin from Mexico. The angst of first love. The wanting things to be different and the fear that things will never change. I think teens of any culture can relate.

What slowed down my enjoyment of the novel just a bit was that it was just too big a story. It covered too many years. We get little snippets here and there. Small doses of time from various years covering several impactful events in her coming-of-age story. The novel is a fictional autobiography. The narrative is designed that way--it's a purposeful retelling of life-events or life-stories. Reflective in nature at times. Slightly episodic.

Overall, I enjoyed this one. And I'd recommend it happily to others.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Alan Sitomer said...

Thanks for the nice review. Considering I am the author (yep, it's really me, Alan, here!) I'd say that I am glad I clicked on this blog.

And I'll certainly check out your other thoughts on other books now that I have stumbled upon you.

Keep up the great work!


Anonymous said...

This is a really great book.