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Yo!: A Novel

Yo!: A Novel

Ratings:

3.83

(102)
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Published by Workman Publishing
ALA Notable Book. Yolanda Garcia has managed to put herself at the center of many lives. Each part of this novel is told from the viewpoint of one of those first tangled in her web and now frozen in the spotlight her literary fame has generated. While everybody from her three sisters to her third husband attempts to sort out Yo's character, motivations, and behavior, Yo herself never speaks on her own behalf, even though, in her native Spanish, her nickname means "I." "A literary dance . . .lively and engaging."--Los Angeles Times Book Review. A QUALITY PAPERBACK BOOK CLUB SELECTION.
ALA Notable Book. Yolanda Garcia has managed to put herself at the center of many lives. Each part of this novel is told from the viewpoint of one of those first tangled in her web and now frozen in the spotlight her literary fame has generated. While everybody from her three sisters to her third husband attempts to sort out Yo's character, motivations, and behavior, Yo herself never speaks on her own behalf, even though, in her native Spanish, her nickname means "I." "A literary dance . . .lively and engaging."--Los Angeles Times Book Review. A QUALITY PAPERBACK BOOK CLUB SELECTION.

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Publish date: 1997
Added to Scribd: Feb 21, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781616201005
List Price: $16.00

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03/26/2015

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9781616201005

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Publishers Weekly reviewed this
The opening chapter of Alvarez's splendid sequel to her first novel, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, is so exuberant and funny, delivered in such rattle-and-snap dialogue, that readers will think they are in for a romp. It is narrated by Sandi, one of the four Garcia sisters whom we encounter again three decades after they emigrated to the States from the political dictatorship of the Dominican Republic. As will all the other narrators in this richly textured narrative, Sandi focuses on her sister Yolanda, "Yo,'' the object of much bitterness and resentment in the family since she has begun to use their lives as material for the books she writes. In the succeeding sections, we flash back to Yo's first years in America, her school and college days, when she exuded pizzazz and potential as a brilliant, if capricious, student obviously destined for a spectacular career. Slowly the canvas darkens, as various people in her life (a cousin on "the island,'' the daughter of the family's maid, a college professor who is her mentor) create a composite picture of a clever, impetuous, initially strong-willed-but progressively self-doubting and insecure-woman who has lost her early promise. Instead of achieving emotional and professional fulfillment, at 33 Yo is lonely, unfocused, twice divorced, childless and still searching for her identity. Then come several surprising plot twists that leave Yo free to find her destiny. In addition to revealing the details of Yo's complicated life, the 15 chapters are also fully nuanced portraits of their quite varied narrators, whose own experiences range from adventurous to quietly heart-wrenching. Alvarez's's command of Latino voices has always been impeccable, but here she is equally adept at conveying the personalities of a geographically diverse group of Americans as well: an obese woman abused by her blue-collar husband, an ex-football player and an aging Southern hippy, among others. But it is Yo, rocketing among lovers, husbands, self-doubts, shortlived enthusiasms, dead-end jobs and the first tentative satisfactions of a career, whom we get to know obliquely but fully as she belatedly finds the center of her existence. Though her sisters have become fully Americanized, Yo has been the victim of cultural dislocation and of a submerged childhood memory revealed only in the last chapter; she has become a stranger to herself. Alvarez's canny, often tart-tongued appraisals of two contrasting cultures, her inspired excursions into the hearts of her vividly realized characters, are a triumph of imaginative virtuosity. This is an entrancing novel, at once an evocation of a complex heroine and a wise and compassionate view of life's vicissitudes and the chances for redemption. Author tour. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

1996-10-14, Publishers Weekly
melissamcb reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Each chapter looked at Yolanda from a different character's point of view so you saw her through many different eyes and at different times of her life. I didn't like it nearly as much as How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents which has the same characters, but it was an enjoyable read.
urduha_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
This is a collection of short stories about Yolanda Garcia (we first met her in How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents) told from the perspectives of various peoople in her life. The stories are often humourous with a tinge of sadness, revealing Yo's journey from precocious child, to a rebellious teen, to a somewhat confused and unfocused adult. We come to see that she is a challenging daughter, a loving a sister, a courageous and loyal friend and lover, an idealistic activist, and ultimately, an artist. The book still brings tears to my eyes, even after double-digit readings.
john_44 reviewed this
I first met Alvarez through In the Time of the Butterflies, and this one does not disappoint at all. It is the story of Yo, (short for Yolanda), one of the four Garcia sisters. It is the story of life in the Dominican Republic, being immigrants in the United States, through Yo's three marriages, fights with her sisters and mother, her extended family in the DR, through the often difficult development of her writing, through superstitions, through hopes, fears, and loves won, lost, and misunderstood. And it is told through multiple images of Yo: through her sisters, her lovers, the daughter of her maid, the peasants and poor people of the DR, her father, her homosexual academic mentor, even through a stalker who attacks her and her sister. Each image is a little chapter. A little uneven in places, but Alvarez writes so well that characters leap off the page, fully formed. She is a joy to read. And in the end, in the chapter from her father, a final, painful secret revealed of how Yo, as a precocious child that loved to make up and tell stories, was beaten by her father and told never to do so again, because of the atavistic fear engendered by a childish story, told to a military neighbour, that could have led to the disappearance and murder of the entire family by the secret police. It brings home very well that raw, unreasoned fear that pervades police states and makes parents even fear the innocence of children.
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