Book Review | I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

I picked this book up with absolutely no idea what it was about or what I was in for and set this book back down with my entire world blown to pieces.

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To read the synopsis on Goodreads, click here.

The book “I am not your perfect Mexican daughter” revolves around Julia, a Mexican teenager, as the title of the book suggests. The story is spread over a span of about three years – from the time Julia’s 15 till when she graduates school. The book opens with the death of Julia’s elder sister Olga and portrays to the readers how broken this horrible accident leaves Julia and her family. As the story takes its course, the readers see how Julia grows and accepts the facts of life. She is the exact opposite of her dead sister and feels suffocated in her own home. Her parents never truly get over Olga’s death and continue to compare Julia with her. Julia, though, uncovers secrets she never knew existed and begins to question the life her (not-so) innocent sister led. These secrets may destroy her family, whatever’s left of it anyway, and there may be no going back. It’s now up to Julia to do the right thing.

The story introduces the readers to quite a few characters – Julia (the main character), Lorena (Julia’s best friend), Julia’s parents, Conner (Julia’s boyfriend) and Angie (Olga’s best friend) – to name a few. Even though the readers aren’t exactly properly introduced to Olga, they get a pretty clear picture about her – she was obedient, hardworking, educated, loved her parents, never left her family and respected her elders. Basically, Olga was the perfect Mexican daughter. Julia, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. She never knew when to keep her mouth shut, was always getting into trouble, couldn’t get out of her house fast enough to leave her family, and had little respect for her elders. These characteristics of Julia’s personality kinda helped me relate to her. I understood where she was coming from and saw bits and pieces of her inside myself. The arguments she had with her mother often had me thinking about similar rows I had had with my own mother. Especially in terms of ‘privacy’… Such stark differences always made Julia wonder how exactly the two of them were sisters. Nevertheless, they loved each other, even though they did not show it often. Due to this, Julia often blamed herself for Olga’s death.

The reason I liked this book so much was because of how real and raw the author Erika L. Sánchez made the entire story feel. The problems that Julia faced did not seem absurd. Instead, I could imagine myself facing the same problems. The emotions that each character felt were so well described and written about that they seemed to crawl off the pages and into my heart. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t shed at least a tear or two. I particularly liked the style of Sánchez’s writing. It was so raw that it made me want to keep on reading.

As Julia uncovered her dead sister Olga’s secrets, I honestly remember biting my nails. As she found one clue after the other, my head kept on filling itself with wild theories. How could someone, who seemed to live a perfectly boring life, have possibly hidden such an enormous secret from everyone? To say that this book kept me on the edge of my seat would be an understatement.

To make clear just how gripping this story was, allow me to tell you how quickly I finished reading it. I sat down with the book, all 344 pages, on Friday evening, read all the way till 3 AM, fell asleep reading, woke up at 9 and continued reading till I finished the book, which was around 10:30-ish. So yeah, the story was quite gripping, to say the least. I would also like to say that for some books, I skip a few lines here and there because either I feel that what’s being said is too redundant or boring, but that did not happen even once throughout this book. I hung on to each and every word instead. To be honest, I was quite sad when the book ended – I wanted it to go on forever.

I didn’t exactly see the twist at the end coming, but the big secret (I won’t say what it is), I feel, would have shown up on the body scan after Olga’s death (okay, a little spoiler…I couldn’t help it). I think that that part could have been better structured or the story could have been different. That’s the one and only complaint I had with this book.

Overall, this book made me laugh my head off, made me quietly sniffle every now and then, and most importantly, made me realize how grateful I should be for the kind of life I lead. I always enjoy reading books like “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” because it gives me a sort of perspective of my life. It brings me back down to the ground and even though sometimes it feels like someone punched me in the gut, after a while, it all seems worth it.

I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5…

To wrap it up, a quote from “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” –

“It’s easier to be pissed, though. If I stop being angry, I’m afraid I’ll fall apart until I’m just a warm mound of flesh on the floor.” 

– Just Another Magical Soul

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Have you read I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez? If you have, what are your thoughts on this book? Let me know in the comment section down below!


4 thoughts on “Book Review | I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

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