Sometimes you meet someone and you just know you will be friends. Over the past few months, I have connected with author Sarah McCoy on Twitter. We have started corresponding more and can I just say, I think she is lovely. She has a new book, The Baker’s Daughter, coming out in January. While I await that book, I decided to read Sarah’s first book, The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico. Don’t you love the title?
Last Friday night, I curled up with my Kindle, a glass of Chardonnay and this book. And then… I finished the book in one sitting- it’s that good! McCoy’s writing is lyrical and magical. You are instantly immersed in Puerto Rican culture with 11 year old Verdita. The book revolves around Verdita dealing with awkward adolescence and the fact that her mother is pregnant- quite a surprise.
One of my favorite scenes occurs when Verdita is out with her Dad and wants an “American” meal. “We took a sharp turn, and my eyes snapped forward to the steady gaze of the American Big Boy.” After she ate her “hambuergesa Americana”, McCoy writes, “My stomach was full of America.” (This made me miss Kip’s and their secret sauce!)
In terms of immersing us in the culture, “Papi said that Puerto Ricans didn’t take honeymoons because the island was already paradise and every day was a celebration.”
One especially poignant scene is when Verdita’s grandmother is teaching her to peel an orange with a knife. When her grandmother encourages her to try again, she says,”Sometimes you have to make mistakes to find the right way. That’s why God put so many oranges on one tree.”
At times, Verdita/McCoy is so funny, “We had sluts in Puerto Rico, but I didn’t know anybody that had one for a sister.”
“This was an old Puerto Rican tradition. A wrapped broom behind the door made unwanted visitors leave; it always worked.” (I’m sure after reading this book, many now have wrapped brooms behind their doors.)
I loved this book and highly recommend it. Let’s all eagerly await The Baker’s Daughter in January.
What are you reading and where are you going?