Dominicana is a novel by Angie Cruz that tells the story of Ana, a fifteen year-old married off to a man only a few years younger than her parents. And why? So that she can move to America and, with any luck, make tons of money, enough to send for her family. According to her mother marriage isn’t about love, it’s about financial stability and even though she doesn’t want this marriage, Ana accepts it. She can’t be the one to let her whole family down.
But when Ana arrives in New York with her new husband Juan, she realizes America isn’t as wonderful as she always believed it to be. With a new name, a new age and no language to speak, she has to stay at home and wait for Juan to come home just to have someone to talk to. As time goes by, Ana realizes that marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She despises her husband and his restrictions. More than that, she is beginning to fall in love…with her brother-in-law. But how can she act on it? She still has to bring her family up from the Dominican Republic.
Watching Ana cope and struggle to understand the fast-paced world of New York with very little contact with anyone accept an old doll she calls Dominicana was both exhilarating and infuriating. You read and can’t believe that a young teenager is going through all of this. A farce of a marriage, an overbearing mother, being separated from the world around you. Ana is unhappy but she makes do, she survives and is a good wife to a faithless husband. But can she blame him? What is she to do? Will she be able to escape this life?
Overall Score: 4.5/5⭐
What made this such a unique reading experience was how Cruz placed it in a time full of civil unrest and discord in both the Dominican Republic and the Unites States and yet much of that never really reaches the characters of the novel. Ana is the perfect bystander and Cruz shows us how even in the middle of a troubling situation, some people have more important concerns at home. Additionally, even though there is a romantic element to this novel, that isn’t the main focus. Instead, we care more about Ana’s fate in the world, whether she will learn English and be free of her terrible marriage, or if she will continue to follow her mother’s instruction. We don’t know and we are rooting for the former. Torn between happiness and responsibility, what will she choose?
Thanks for stopping by! Did you enjoy this blog, if so like it and join my bookish family by following! And does Dominicana sound like the book for you? Well, be sure to pick it up at your local bookseller! I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to see what Angie Cruz does next.
Shout out to the women of color who write. If you are interested in joining a group of supportive like-minded minds check out the Women of Color Writing Circle!
See you soon!