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  • Powerful and timely memoir!

    Ordinary Girls is not an easy read. It’s shocking, sad, and honest. Jaquira Díaz holds nothing back as she tells her story. But as someone who should not have survived, her story is also inspiring, a reminder that every voice deserves to be heard, that every life has meaning. "We’re supposed to love our mothers. We’re supposed to trust them and need them and miss them when they’re gone. But what if that same person, the one who’s supposed to love you more than anyone else in the world, the one who’s supposed to protect you, is also the one who hurts you the most?" - Jaquira Díaz, Ordinary Girls Born in Puerto Rico, relocating to Miami, and living in the projects, Jaquira suffers many abuses—at the hands of her family, her peers, and strangers. Her life is a daily struggle as she grapples with her place in her family, racism, and her own identity. She finds solace with her friends, her fellow ‘ordinary girls.’ It is those friendships that will give her the strength to eventually find a better path. "Living with Mami meant we could never have friends over, could never have birthday parties or sleepovers like all those normal, ordinary girls. We were afraid our friends would find out about her madness, her drug use, her violent outbursts. So we kept it to ourselves, our secret shame, hiding bruises from teachers and classmates." - Jaquira Díaz, Ordinary Girls Reading Ordinary Girls is like listening to a close friend tell the story of their life—a story you haven’t heard before. A story that shouldn’t be true. As you listen, it’s mostly chronological, but sometimes it weaves a bit, including pieces from the history of Puerto Rico, stories about other women with their own powerful messages, weaving the stories that make the author’s message complete. So much happens in this book that is not included in the synopsis. So much that touches on current events—the lack of help for women struggling with mental illness, the challenging obstacles that queer women of color face every day, and even the insufficient response from Trump during Hurricane Maria. "I know something about the in-between, of being seen but not really seen. I have lived there my whole life. I mean quite literally that I’m a child of colonialism, born into poverty on an island that was seized and exploited, first by Spanish colonizers, then by Americans. My family, although they’re also US citizens, are colonial subjects, and most of what we know about our black family is limited because of slavery. We can trace as far back as Haiti, but before then, nothing. Like most black people in the US, the Caribbean, and Latin America, our histories, our cultures, our people, were stolen." - Jaquira Díaz, Ordinary Girls Ordinary Girls is an important story. One we need to learn from. We must find a way to help those who are struggling to help themselves. See their faces. And hear their voices. Thank you to the publisher, Algonquin Books, for providing me with an advance copy.

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