MUDDY CUP by Barbara Fischkin


A Dominican Family Comes of Age in a New America
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 A sensitive and nuanced account of one Dominican family's immigration experience. In the mid-1980s, Dominicans were the fastest-growing group of immigrants in New York City. Newsday reporter Fischkin's account of the Almonte family's move to New York City began as a year-long newspaper series and ended as a decade-long book project. The family members are rendered as fully and refreshingly human, defying both the negative stereotypes and the heroic clichÇs that so often clutter media portrayals of immigrants. Javier had been dreaming of leaving his native town, Cam£, since childhood. But his sister Marta was the first of the Almontes to go to New York, abandoning her young children to do it. She eventually made it possible for many of the rest of her family to come over, both by sending them money and by finding them jobs when they arrived. In 1986, Javier's wife, Roselia, was forced to decide between joining Javier, who had already moved to Queens, and staying with her children--immigration officers would not issue visas to all three children, claiming Javier would not be able to support them. So Roselia took the oldest and left the two younger ones behind. Here Fischkin's reporting becomes part of the story--a congressman reads about the divided family and arranges visas for Cristian and Mauricio. But Cristian never really learns English; she watches too much TV and breaks her father's heart by moving back to the Dominican Republic with her much-older boyfriend. Mauricio, the youngest, wants to be a writer. By the book's end, he's in graduate school studying Spanish literature. Fischkin smoothly and gracefully tells a complex tale by interweaving parents' and children's vastly different perspectives, as well as an account of the Dominican Republic's troubled history. A human side to currrent policy debates on immigration--well timed and well told.

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 1997
ISBN: 0-684-80704-1
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1997


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