Once Upon a Quinceanera by Julia Alvarez

Genre:  Multicultural Literature/Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  269

RAC Book:  Yes

Once Upon a Quinceanera follows the author, Julia Alvarez, as she explores the Latino tradition of the quinceanera, which is the celebration given to daughters on their 15th birthdays.  The story follows the specific quinceanera of Monica.  Although based on a real girl, her name was changed to Monica to protect her identity.  As Alvarez follows Monica’s big day she also discusses the tradition of quinceaneras, the growth of them in the U.S., and the impact they have on those girls who have or don’t have them.  There is a lot of discussion about the Latino culture here in the U.S. as well as the reasons behind each of the traditions such as the “last doll” and the significant change from flats to heels. 

Alvarez also explores her own life and how the pressures and expectations to follow in traditional Latina roles conflicted with her own desires such as college and becoming an author.  This book explores both sides of these parties:  the side that wants to celebrate a girl becoming a woman and the side that believes these parties are too expensive and overdone.  The explanations of how these parties have developed over the years was extensive and important for the story and is good for anyone not familiar with the tradition to know.  The quinceanera is only going to continue to grow in the U.S. and it’s important for non-Latinos to understand what it is Latinos are celebrating and respecting it for what it is, which is more than an elaborate party.

 

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1 Response to “Once Upon a Quinceanera by Julia Alvarez”


  1. 1 Loren Howard January 30, 2009 at 6:23 am

    Hi,

    I Recently came across your blog through Google and found it to be informative and interesting. Thanks for the information, I Like your blog so much.

    As a Jewel Designer, I also have Quinceanera Traditions Website, May it will be informative for you.

    Keep up the great work!!!!


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