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A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir (2014)

por Daisy Hernandez

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
12516173,254 (4.22)9
"It's 1980. Ronald Reagan has been elected president, John Lennon has been shot, and a little girl in New Jersey has been hauled off to English classes. Her teachers and parents and tias are expecting her to become white--like the Italians. This is the opening to A cup of water under my bed, the memoir of one Colombian-Cuban daughter's rebellions and negotiations with the women who raised her and the world that wanted to fit her into a cubbyhole. From language acquisition to coming out as bisexual to arriving as a reporting intern at the New York Times as the paper is rocked by its biggest plagiarism scandal, Daisy Hernandez chronicles what the women in her community taught her about race, sex, money, and love. This is a memoir about the private nexus of sexuality, immigration, race and class issues, but it is ultimately a daughter's cuento of how to take the lessons from home and shape them into a new, queer life"--… (mais)
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"Over and over again, this truth: Writing is how I leave my family and how I take them with me."

I have been sitting with this one for over a week because I just didn't have the words for the emotions I felt during and after reading this one. A Cup of Water Under the Bed by Daisy Hernandez had masterful prose, descriptive and emotional writing that speaks to your soul and makes you contemplate and reconcile your feelings about language, being tethered to a homeland and how to navigate your own identity. It is an ode to the power of language and how it shapes our interactions with people, places and things. It explored this idea that not every word has a literal translation, that some have context and experience that do not translate and how it is okay to allow such language to just exist and belong to its intended group.

The one word that comes to mind to describe this book's main theme is "reckoning":

☆ reckoning with being bilingual, one language feels like pebbles on the tongue while the other feels like home

☆ reckoning with the bittersweetness of American Dream and who reaps the benefits

☆ reckoning with the humanity and imperfections of parents

☆ reckoning with learning to love family despite the hurt and forgiveness

☆ reckoning with sexuality and identity within the rigidity of Latinx culture

☆ reckoning with feminism in a world dominated by machismo and patriarchy

☆ reckoning with the disparities in income, education, financial literacy and access to social capital as a Latinx person

☆ reckoning with faith and spiritual practices and colonialism

☆ reckoning with what healing looks like

☆ reckoning with assimilation vs. tradition

☆ reckoning with gender based violence and the social inequalities women face

☆ reckoning with the guilt of being a child of immigrants and not living up to expectations

Alot of the author's experiences resonated with me on a personal level. There were times when I felt like she was describing my own parents' experiences. This book helped me to see how our imperfections can also be beautiful and tell a story rich in history and resilience.

Bookdragon Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 ( )
  Booklover217 | Jan 18, 2021 |
full review coming soon
  roniweb | May 30, 2019 |
My Takeaway

“Generally speaking, gay people come out of the closet, straight people walk around the closet, and bisexuals have to be told to look for the closet. We are too preoccupied with shifting.”
Daisy Hernández, A Cup of Water Under My Bed

A Cup of Water Under My Bed was chosen by my book club at work (lovingly named El Barrio Book Club). The memoir was heartfelt, witty, honest and full of sentiment. I truly enjoyed the vivid vignettes Hernández's provided throughout the book. I found myself reminiscing quite a lot. As a first-generation Dominican-American, I appreciate and cherish being part of two cultures. I love the United States and I love the Dominican Republic (DR) . . . However, my traditions are pretty much all Dominican (with a es-prinkle of American) because of my parents -- especially my mom. This woman did not play around and meant business! I was born in the US, but Spanish was my first language. Once I learned English, I was not allowed to speak it at home until I was around thirteen years old. Also, every year until the age of nine, I traveled to DR with my abuela (Mama). Some of my fondest childhood memories are from those amazing summer trips. Many of Hernández's anecdotes reminded me of my childhood. I too had to translate and interpret for family members (grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and my dad). Interestingly, my parents worked at a glass factory for many years until it closed. I appreciated Hernández's candid writing especially on common taboo subjects in Latino households. I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir and highly recommend it. Hernández gives readers a front row seat to her childhood and early experiences as a queer and feminist Latina. ( )
  debbiesbooknook | Apr 27, 2018 |
Hernández writes so well, delicate little prose gifts spread across this memoir set up as a series of tangential anecdotes subtly segued. I loved the bits of Spanish sprinkled throughout ( )
  mongoosenamedt | Feb 21, 2018 |
Excellent memoir. Daisy Hernandez takes the read through images of her family, her work, her exploration of herself, of love, of becoming a writer. Weaving through her child and as an adult (sometimes going back and forth) we see a story of a young woman born of Cuban-Colombian parents making her way in the world.
 
I was not at all familiar with her writing and am not sure if I've heard of her beforehand (I suspect I've probably read some of work but didn't realize it) but this was a work of a writer I'd like to read more about.
 
Hernandez talks about a LOT of issues to varying depths: race and racism, love and exploring her sexuality, what it's like to write for a place like The New York Times, her family and its complications (her father who can't find steady work, her family's disapproval that the author has dated women, etc.), poverty/credit card debt, religion, etc.
 
I almost don't want to write more because I'd end up writing about everything in the book. It is a thin book yet it mostly kept me compelled in how much detail she packed in the prose, despite not going extremely in depth. The book jacket describes this as "lyrical" and I would agree.
 
I felt the book actually started coming undone when she began writing about her time at the NYT. While perhaps it's because it represents her moving on her own (she moves out of the family home around the same time) it seemed a little...dry? Given that as of this review it hasn't been that long since former editor Jill Abramson had been fired, I thought I'd find this more interesting. And it was, to some extent (her discussions of how "white" the staff is, how difficult it was to pitch stories dealing with poverty, people of color, etc, how the editors were white, etc.) yet it seemed not very interesting. She's there when the Jayson Blair scandal breaks, and while she has some commentary about the situation went down, it seems there's...some holding back? I'm not quite sure what it is about this section that I find boring, but it's a minor blip in comparison to the rest of the book.
 
If you enjoy memoirs this is definitely one to pick up. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Feb 11, 2018 |
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"It's 1980. Ronald Reagan has been elected president, John Lennon has been shot, and a little girl in New Jersey has been hauled off to English classes. Her teachers and parents and tias are expecting her to become white--like the Italians. This is the opening to A cup of water under my bed, the memoir of one Colombian-Cuban daughter's rebellions and negotiations with the women who raised her and the world that wanted to fit her into a cubbyhole. From language acquisition to coming out as bisexual to arriving as a reporting intern at the New York Times as the paper is rocked by its biggest plagiarism scandal, Daisy Hernandez chronicles what the women in her community taught her about race, sex, money, and love. This is a memoir about the private nexus of sexuality, immigration, race and class issues, but it is ultimately a daughter's cuento of how to take the lessons from home and shape them into a new, queer life"--

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