Same thing with this book, let’s just say I set my expectations a bit too high.
Title: Emily Goldberg Learns to SalsaIt’s a nice read, and this is the type of book good for reading while you’re just out there, relaxing.
Author: Micol Ostow
Half Jewish. Half Puerto-Rican. All Confused.
Emily is a Jewish girl from the suburbs of New York, end of story. Her mother has a family in Puerto Rico, but Emily has no contact with them- until she’s forced to go to the Caribbean for her grandmother’s funeral.
Pampered Emily wants nothing to do with her Puerto Rican family- until a very special person shows her that uncovering her roots is like discovering a secret part of her own heart.
Emily was like a fish removed from the pond she’s been into all her life and hauled to a new place. She was awkward and confused. She didn’t know what to do, ironic, considering that she was with her family, and yet she feels like an outsider.
I understand the difficulties she was going through. I for one have cousins I’m not even remotely close to, I don’t really get along with them and in that aspect, I can relate to Emily. It’s just that I find her attitude a bit too… annoying at first. I didn’t like the way she and Max behaved on her grandmother’s funeral, all because they didn’t know how to act in front of their own relatives. Or maybe that’s just their way of coping with their new “world”. Something that they are aware of but didn’t really have a chance to explore until the unfortunate death of their grandmother happened.
The story has some redeeming factors though. I guess this story is more of Emily AND her mother, reconnecting with the world that should have been so familiar to them and yet so alien, which they can only get in touch with it now. Emily and her mother’s journey of rediscovering their roots, eventually, learning WHO you really are in the process, and appreciating yourself and the parts that made you up, may you be a Jewish, Puerto Rican girl raised in New York or a Puerto Rican girl who went to America to live more freely, is really heart warming.
It’s a light-hearted, sometimes funny read which tackles some serious issues as well (Lucy and her pregnancy scare, Puerto Rico changing Emily, how to cope being away from friends, long distance relationships, and ultimately, accepting your family.), those are some solid points the author was able to convey in her writing.
I have to admit I got confused with the lines in Puerto Rican. I felt like they were crucial sentences that should have been said in English, or at least given the translation to, it felt like I missed something because I can’t understand what was written.
I wasn’t able to connect much to Emily’s character, and wished there could have been a lot more that was said about what happened, or what will eventually happen to her and Ricky. With the serious tone of the story, I think romance could have balanced it out a bit, and make it a more engaging read.
Overall, it’s a nice book. Micol Ostow drew out from her own experiences to write a very thoughtful story.
Rating: ★★★☆☆ : NICE - Fun read. Not really bad, but it wasn't that good.