YO! by Julia Alvarez

YO!

KIRKUS REVIEW

 The devilish Garcia girls are back, in a warm, complex, rich and colorful third novel (How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, 1991; In the Time of the Butterflies, 1994). The focus is once again on the character of Yo, the oldest and seemingly boldest of the four little girls transplanted from the Dominican Republic to New York in the 1950s, when the upper-class Dominican Garcias fled their home to escape Trujillo's bloody reign. Yo, destined to become an autobiographical poet and novelist, is in trouble with her family when this latest novel begins for having published family secrets--writing about their mother's sneaky methods of scaring her young girls into obeying her, for example, and of their father's enjoyment of skiing naked. But, then, Yo's always been in trouble for telling the truth: When Trujillo was at his most treacherous, Yo's mother remembers, the seven-year-old girl discovered a gun in her father's closet and told a neighbor, a bishop loyal to the government. That led to the family's emigration. This time out the people that Yo, now in her mid-40s and a famous writer, has written about get to tell their side of the story. Her sisters, mother, old-fashioned, gallant father, ex-boyfriends, former professors, best friends, childhood nanny, and Dominican cousins--all remember and reflect on the kind, headstrong, superstitious, needy, fearful, or impulsive Yo they've known at various ages and stages of her life. The voices of Yo's family and friends are magical, and the details of life--first in Dominica, where the Garcias' wealth and social standing made daily life even under the dictatorship seem luxurious and safe, and then in the hard years in New York--are fascinating, though the stories told here are sometimes puzzling and contradictory. Still, the writing, as always, is animated and wonderfully imaginative; the characters jump off the page. A must-read for Alvarez's many fans. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-56512-157-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Algonquin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1996




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