2 out of 4 stars
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How did you become the person you are today? Can you identify the experiences in your childhood that defined you? Cristina Caymares wrote about the four most influential people in her childhood. In four short chapters, she delved into her childhood memories of her parents and grandparents. My Life: Uncensored is a memoir in which the author reminisced about the events and emotions that shaped her life. She described herself as a highly sensitive person and tried to determine what circumstances and people had defined her life.
Cristina lived in Miami with her mother, grandmother, and older sister. Every summer, she and her sister traveled to Los Angeles to stay with their aunt and uncle. When they returned to Florida, she spent treasured moments with her grandparents. After her father passed away, Mom had several husbands and boyfriends. Babysitters filled in as authority figures until they moved in with Grandma. Abuela Pilar was her rock of stability, and she took the sisters to church, prepared their meals, and played with them. Of all these experiences, what were the most defining moments in her life?
Cristina’s voice came through in her writing. Clear and vivid descriptions revealed her pain, confusion, disappointments, joys, and accomplishments. I enjoyed Cristina’s ability to bring her family to life by sharing her experiences. Her stories were not always pretty. The honesty about her chaotic family life will make readers smile and cry. The family photos brought this family closer to the reader. On numerous occasions, the author manifested her Cuban heritage by expressing her emotions in Spanish. These were all translated, except for one instance. I appreciated Cristina’s efforts to tell her uncensored story without recurring to the use of profanity or inappropriate scenes.
This book needs another round of editing. I noticed several spelling and comma errors. While this story may have helped the author define her past, readers do not have closure on several topics. I would have liked to learn more about her younger brother. This younger sibling was mentioned but was never named and did not appear in any of the photos. Did he influence her life in any way? Why did she rush over the comment about her twenty-one high school boyfriends? This book ended without giving readers resolution about several situations in Cristina’s life.
I rate this book two out of four stars. Cristina told a compelling story of the many experiences that contributed to forming her personality. Nevertheless, readers finish the memoir with several loose threads floating in the wind. The grammar errors obliged me to take away another star. Readers who prefer memoirs would enjoy Cristina’s story. Teachers, parents, and youth leaders could read Cristina’s story to learn how young people struggle to define their identities. Adult readers will recall how small gestures sow seeds that produce lasting effects in young hearts.
My life uncensored
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