Olga Dies Dreaming by Xóchitl González


I almost gave up on this book a couple of times. It is primarily because of the language used. There is a lot of cursing, which always puts me off. It might be a natural mode of communication among people now, but it distracted me from the ongoing story. It also did not make me like any of the characters (and they are not too likeable, to begin with).
Towards the end, though, luckily for me, the story pays off for all (if any) emotional attachments one may have formed during the narrative.
The book is about the Puerto Rican community in the US, specifically New York. The people are part of the US without reaping much of the benefits. This book takes a very stark look at the varying levels of interactions people have with the idea of Puerto Ricans and the idea of them being treated differently than Mainland Americans.
The tale is also of one family, and within that family, two siblings struggle with the roles they have chosen to play in their lives. One means well, and the other wants to do well. Both have a strong relationship with each other, but it will take a battering before the narrative closes. Their mother is an ominous presence hovering just out of reach but seldom out of their minds. This was a little harder to internalize since it felt to be almost of a different genre from the rest.
It ended unexpectedly with more happily ever afters than I would have thought possible in a work with so much angst. I do not think it is was that part that made me like the book; it was more the satisfaction of different avenues discussed during the course of the narrative being handled and having some answer for it all.
It is a story of a family, their ideals and the way the world sees them. I would not recommend this to everyone, but if the blurb appeals to you and you like hard-headed characters and speech, this might be a book you will enjoy more than I did.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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