Book Review

Moon Reads: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

Read before: No

Ownership: Copy provided by the publisher. They asked if anyone wanted one to review and I felt I had to given I am Mexican and I knew this would be a book I could talk about. I just didn’t realise how much I would understand this book.

Disclaimer: Receiving a review copy from the publisher does not affect my opinion of the book. If you think I review it highly it is due to me knowing my taste well and therefore not requesting books I won’t enjoy. And I am not obligated to review the book if I do not like it, so you may not see bad reviews due to me preferring not to hype down a particular book. I only do reviews of books I disagreed with if I think it is worth bringing a topic or warning to light.

I have just finished reading this book, and woah. I will start by saying that the whole fact that Julia’s mum expects her daughters to be perfect and to behave as if they were in Mexico and everything as she wanted to, is very much something I get. My own mum had her dreams of what my future should look like and it had incredibly intense consequences on the decisions I made around Julia and Olga’s age, and that in turn caused consequences I wish I could have avoided. Sometimes Mexican mums think they know best because they have imagined a full future and suddenly something clicks and they hold unto that.

But our story starts after Olga dies, the perfect daughter who is always helping her mum, who is studying to be a secretary and has a job but still lives at home, everything Julia is not. And without Olga to hold the high standards of their mother, Julia’s world quickly becomes suffocating and even harder to live in. And not only that but there are small hints that maybe Olga was not exactly who she said she was, that maybe she had carefully constructed a bunch of lies and there was more to what Julia considered a boring meek life as the perfect daughter.

Overall, the book is quite intense and paints a picture that I actually never felt was not Mexican enough or that was trying to romanticise it or anything. Instead it was factual, you can see how Julia judges some of it because she doesn’t understand the reasons, the culture, the traditions behind, or the hardships. And you can also see how the family does not get Julia and this American dream they hoped for either. The dream was not actually a dream, and in a way they are too afraid to make it be more. But you get all the little details that make it be true, be real, be genuine, and I liked that. I had no complaints on how Mexican this felt.

Overall, the one thing I have to say is that this book deals with a lot of intense topics and therefore it is worth coming to it prepared. Among them it deals with depression, death, attempted suicide, drugs, drug dealers, violence, pregnancy, abortion, affairs, parental abuse. There is a lot going on and it is an intense book, but it is also very nice to see Julia slowly find herself, and get out of the shadow of her perfect sister that was not actually that perfect or good and was trying just as Julia was, to live a life that would make their parents proud and make her happy, and that is a very hard balance and a lot of pressure to be under.

Fill this sky with stars...