America’s Dream by Esmeralda Santiago


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The debut novel from the author of the highly acclaimed memoir, When I Was Puerto Rican, and “one of the most powerful new voices in American fiction” (Boston Globe).

It’s 1996, and América Gonzalez is a hotel housekeeper on Vieques, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico, cleaning up after wealthy foreigners who don’t look her in the eye. Her alcoholic mother resents her; her married boyfriend, Correa, beats her; and their fourteen-year-old daughter thinks life would be better anywhere but with América. So when América is offered the chance to work as a live-in housekeeper and nanny for a family in Westchester, New York, she takes it as a sign to finally make the escape she’s been longing for.

Yet, even as América revels in the comparative luxury of her new life—daring to care about a man other than Correa—she is faced with the disquieting realization that no matter what she does, she can never really escape her past.

Deftly written and fiercely resilient, this novel explores the ever-shifting definition of what it means to be American and exemplifies the spirit of every immigrant who has dared to realize the American dream.

America’s Dream by Esmeralda Santiago