“You must keep the mistakes there. Mistakes are vital to every scientist’s process. Just put a line through whatever you did incorrectly and keep going.”– Jennine Capó Crucet
When Lizet-the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the first in her family to graduate from high school-secretly applies and is accepted to an ultra-elite college, her parents are furious at her decision to leave Miami. Just weeks before she’s set to start school, her parents divorce and her father sells her childhood home, leaving Lizet, her mother, and Leidy-Lizet’s older sister, a brand-new single mom-without a steady income and scrambling for a place to live.
Amidst this turmoil, Lizet begins her first semester at Rawlings College, distracted by both the exciting and difficult moments of freshman year. But the privileged world of the campus feels utterly foreign, as does her new awareness of herself as a minority. Struggling both socially and academically, she returns to Miami for a surprise Thanksgiving visit, only to be overshadowed by the arrival of Ariel Hernandez, a young boy whose mother died fleeing with him from Cuba on a raft. The ensuing immigration battle puts Miami in a glaring spotlight, captivating the nation and entangling Lizet’s entire family, especially her mother.
Pulled between life at college and the needs of those she loves, Lizet is faced with difficult decisions that will change her life forever. Urgent and mordantly funny, Make Your Home Among Strangers tells the moving story of a young woman torn between generational, cultural, and political forces; it’s the new story of what it means to be American today.
This book was very eye opening, and I loved being able to learn and see the culture and what Cubans went through and still go through in America.
Being born and raised in the Midwest, all I know is American culture and that education needs to be top priority and that we are selfish in the fact that we want to do what is best for us and our future.
Whereas, what I learned from this book was that family is most important. In American culture that is important as well. However, as I said, we are selfish and try and do what is best for us. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just different.
That brings me to Lizet. She struggled with being torn between family and herself quite a bit, wanting to better herself and be successful but also be there for her family.
I knew that a lot of cultures have a very strong sense of family and value it a great deal. But, the way Lizets family treated her for wanting an education was astounding and quite frankly it really irritated me. They were mad that she wanted to go to a good school- because it was too far away. She was hardly able to visit, but when she did they were very stand-offish and rude to her.
The beginning was very slow, and I felt like I kind of dragged through it. It does pick up, and then abruptly ends. The last chapter or so are in the future and just a recount of what happens in those years between when it ends and where Lizet and her family are now.
One other thing that I didn’t really like, was how Whites were portrayed. I get that we are privileged and that there are a lot of white people who are racist. But we are not all like that. It was a bit irritating that Lizets sister was constantly telling her to stop ‘acting white’ or what she was ‘such a white girl’. When I’m reality all Lizet was doing was being herself and acting like the educated individual she is and using the information she is learning at college In her everyday life.
Overall, the book really opened my eyes to the Cuban and Latino culture and that home is what we make of it, and not to let people get in the way do what we want for ourselves and our future.