Hila Colman has written several short novels for teenage girls, and The Girl from Puerto Rico is intended for this audience. In the words on the jacket, “Without oversimplifying the many difficult problems, Hila Colman shows what it means to be a Puerto Rican in New York, and Felicidad shines through her story as a sweet and sensitive heroine.” Given the purpose of the author, the merits of the book exceed its deficiencies, and life both in rural Puerto Rico and in Spanish Harlem is generally accurately described. Careful editing, however, should have caught the many errors and inconsistencies of accentuation and such misusages and mispellings as Louisa, Collegio de Baptista, turista with a plural verb, asopoa for asopao, and las arrables. Puerto Ricans do not eat tortillas and their favorite beverage is not ice cold soda. Puerto Ricans with true Indian features are exceedingly rare. The Puerto Rican school system will probably have double sessions daily in many localities until 1964, yet “Felicidad thought it very odd that a country as rich as the United States [i.e., New York City] didn’t have enough schools. In her little island there were schools everywhere, and the rooms weren’t crowded and dreary the way they were here [New York].” (p. 108) Finally it is not made clear that the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is in fact part of the United States and that Puerto Ricans are American citizens. The author does succeed in contrasting typical insular behavior and attitudes with those of Puerto Ricans and other groups in New York City, and her novel is an implicit plea for understanding and acceptance of the Puerto Rican emigrant with which we can have no quarrel.
Book Review| August 01 1962
The Girl from Puerto Rico
The Girl from Puerto Rico. By Colman, Hila.
William Morrow & Company. Pp.
Hispanic American Historical Review (1962) 42 (3): 448.
Frederick E. Kidder; The Girl from Puerto Rico. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 August 1962; 42 (3): 448. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-42.3.448
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