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From the celebrated editor of This Bridge Called My Back, Cherríe Moraga charts her own coming-of-age alongside her mother's decline, and also tells the larger story of the Mexican American diaspora. Native Country of the Heart: A Memoir is, at its core, a mother-daughter story. The mother, Elvira, was hired out as a child, along with her siblings, by their own father to pi From the celebrated editor of This Bridge Called My Back, Cherríe Moraga charts her own coming-of-age alongside her mother's decline, and also tells the larger story of the Mexican American diaspora. Native Country of the Heart: A Memoir is, at its core, a mother-daughter story. The mother, Elvira, was hired out as a child, along with her siblings, by their own father to pick cotton in California's Imperial Valley. The daughter, Cherríe Moraga, is a brilliant, pioneering, queer Latina feminist. The story of these two women, and of their people, is woven together in an intimate memoir of critical reflection and deep personal revelation. As a young woman, Elvira left California to work as a cigarette girl in glamorous late-1920s Tijuana, where an ambiguous relationship with a wealthy white man taught her life lessons about power, sex, and opportunity. As Moraga charts her mother's journey--from impressionable young girl to battle-tested matriarch to, later on, an old woman suffering under the yoke of Alzheimer's--she traces her own self-discovery of her gender-queer body and Lesbian identity, as well as her passion for activism and the history of her pueblo. As her mother's memory fails, Moraga is driven to unearth forgotten remnants of a U.S. Mexican diaspora, its indigenous origins, and an American story of cultural loss. Poetically wrought and filled with insight into intergenerational trauma, Native Country of the Heart is a reckoning with white American history and a piercing love letter from a fearless daughter to the mother she will never lose.


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From the celebrated editor of This Bridge Called My Back, Cherríe Moraga charts her own coming-of-age alongside her mother's decline, and also tells the larger story of the Mexican American diaspora. Native Country of the Heart: A Memoir is, at its core, a mother-daughter story. The mother, Elvira, was hired out as a child, along with her siblings, by their own father to pi From the celebrated editor of This Bridge Called My Back, Cherríe Moraga charts her own coming-of-age alongside her mother's decline, and also tells the larger story of the Mexican American diaspora. Native Country of the Heart: A Memoir is, at its core, a mother-daughter story. The mother, Elvira, was hired out as a child, along with her siblings, by their own father to pick cotton in California's Imperial Valley. The daughter, Cherríe Moraga, is a brilliant, pioneering, queer Latina feminist. The story of these two women, and of their people, is woven together in an intimate memoir of critical reflection and deep personal revelation. As a young woman, Elvira left California to work as a cigarette girl in glamorous late-1920s Tijuana, where an ambiguous relationship with a wealthy white man taught her life lessons about power, sex, and opportunity. As Moraga charts her mother's journey--from impressionable young girl to battle-tested matriarch to, later on, an old woman suffering under the yoke of Alzheimer's--she traces her own self-discovery of her gender-queer body and Lesbian identity, as well as her passion for activism and the history of her pueblo. As her mother's memory fails, Moraga is driven to unearth forgotten remnants of a U.S. Mexican diaspora, its indigenous origins, and an American story of cultural loss. Poetically wrought and filled with insight into intergenerational trauma, Native Country of the Heart is a reckoning with white American history and a piercing love letter from a fearless daughter to the mother she will never lose.

30 review for Native Country of the Heart: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A moving portrait of the radical writer-activist’s fraught bond with her mom, Elvira Moraga, homing in on the family’s struggle to provide care for Elvira in the wake of her late-in-life Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Cherríe tells her own coming-of-age story in the concise first part, contrasting it with Elvira's, and from there she carefully charts the course of her mother’s illness and slow slip toward death. The memoir’s pensive, painful, and well worth reading.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    This was an interesting memoir about growing up in a Mexican/American family in the US with a strong mother Elvira, also called Vera. Elvira tells of being hired out with her siblings by their father as a child to pick cotton in California in Imperial Valley. A mother-daughter story where the mother has quite a history as the backbone of the family for decades in both Mexico and America. It also tells of the author, Cherrie Moraga's, journey as a lesbian in that culture as she found her voice an This was an interesting memoir about growing up in a Mexican/American family in the US with a strong mother Elvira, also called Vera. Elvira tells of being hired out with her siblings by their father as a child to pick cotton in California in Imperial Valley. A mother-daughter story where the mother has quite a history as the backbone of the family for decades in both Mexico and America. It also tells of the author, Cherrie Moraga's, journey as a lesbian in that culture as she found her voice and began speaking out and getting involved in different issues. Then there are some problems many have as their parents' age but perhaps handled in her mother’s unusual fashion at first. I found it to be an involving enough read and learned enough on a number of topics to make it worthwhile, figuring that others would like it also. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Cherrie Moraga, and the publisher for my fair review. RATING: 3.5 of 5.0 Stars Also seen on my BookZone blog: https://wordpress.com/post/bookblog20...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    I went into this book blind, with no background at all. It began with Californio / Mexicano memories, and having been born and raised in LA, that spoke to my little girl heart. Although we were not cut from the same cloth - there were many similarities to our remembrances. Both my parents are white, but we were poor-poor-poor. Counting carrots, swiping oranges and avocadoes and pomegranates on walks. The library was the evening entertainment. There were loud fighting families on both sides of us I went into this book blind, with no background at all. It began with Californio / Mexicano memories, and having been born and raised in LA, that spoke to my little girl heart. Although we were not cut from the same cloth - there were many similarities to our remembrances. Both my parents are white, but we were poor-poor-poor. Counting carrots, swiping oranges and avocadoes and pomegranates on walks. The library was the evening entertainment. There were loud fighting families on both sides of us, no matter where we lived, and all streets had a melodic sound: Galena, Granada, Benito, Calumos, Coalinga, Bodega, Cabrillo (don't pronounce the lls!), San Antonio, Lindero. In school we spoke English half the day, and the other spoke Spanish. There was a poetical rhythm to the narrative, about the author's coming up in her family, finding herself, her natural proclivities opposed to the family's "party" lines - especially the mama's . . . .I remember finding myself landed, post-puberty, in opposition to all the things my mother wanted me to be. Later she said it wasn't so, but at the time it was very much that way. Not easy to stay, very easy to go. But as years roll on, we keep coming back to that nucleus, trying to convince it we are ok, we are justified in our differences from the family doctrines, whatever they are. I was very moved as her mama began to lose herself. I was my mom's caretaker (among many) for lots of years as words fell out of her head, and some stories morphed into untruths, and some truths stayed put and inconveniently trotted out at odd times. I remembered as the author discussed this difficult time. I wept, remembering my own hands holding on to mama's that last night. Overall it was not an easy book to read. It wasn't happy for me. But I felt a sisterhood, of a type, with Ms. Moraga. A daughter's story that echoed mine in many ways. I hope she's found hope and joy, and resolution that breeds contentment. I've found some, but in my persistent, massive flaws find a girl who's still out there lookin'.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lupita Reads

    “To disappear into Mexicanism is not enough; to disappear into Latinidad is even less of who we are; to disappear into Anglo-America, our colonization is complete. We were not supposed to remember.” Something that has lingered over me in my parenthood journey was all the times my Mamá said to me growing up “Watch, when you have your kids, you will see how hard this is.” As the days turn into weeks and months I often come back to this thought with only one response “Things are hard but you could h “To disappear into Mexicanism is not enough; to disappear into Latinidad is even less of who we are; to disappear into Anglo-America, our colonization is complete. We were not supposed to remember.” Something that has lingered over me in my parenthood journey was all the times my Mamá said to me growing up “Watch, when you have your kids, you will see how hard this is.” As the days turn into weeks and months I often come back to this thought with only one response “Things are hard but you could have done better.” Carrying a resentment I didn’t know I had & guilt about even thinking about it, is something that has plagued me. In NATIVE COUNTRY OF THE HEART, I found my same feels carefully dissected as Cherríe Moraga unfolds the rich and complicated history of her Mamá along side her own story. Peeling back the layers of her own Mamás humanity not to try and understand her but to honor her as she begins to lose her to Alzheimer’s disease. As I was reading this I often thought about how we in society are accustomed to honoring our loved ones, how we tend to share only stories of happy memories. I thought about only the great memories I have of my own Mamá growing up & how those might honor her but fail in truly honoring her as a human on this earth. Because to include the difficult moments as well would honor and paint a better picture of her life. In telling you the tough things it would show you everything she had to go through to give me the best childhood she could. Cherríe Moraga captures the fine line between accepting a Mamá as someone who is like every other human that has made mistakes without dismissing her own experiences as a daughter and for that this Mother/Daughter memoir is truly something special.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ai Miller

    A really beautiful memoir, tracing Moraga's relationship with her mother and her mother's history. I think it didn't click with me entirely because of where I'm at in my life, and so some of Moraga's long mourning for her mother as her mother succumbed to Alzheimer's felt repetitive to me, but might connect better to someone who has had to go through something similar. Regardless, Moraga's explorations of her family's dynamics and what it means to lose a matriarch were really powerful, and this A really beautiful memoir, tracing Moraga's relationship with her mother and her mother's history. I think it didn't click with me entirely because of where I'm at in my life, and so some of Moraga's long mourning for her mother as her mother succumbed to Alzheimer's felt repetitive to me, but might connect better to someone who has had to go through something similar. Regardless, Moraga's explorations of her family's dynamics and what it means to lose a matriarch were really powerful, and this is a book I might return to in the future.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dee

    Gorgeous and so very sad.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This moving memoir tells the story of Elvira Moraga from the point of view of her daughter, Cherríe Moraga, the famous queer Chicana writer and activist probably best known for her role as co-editor of the seminal anthology "This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color," first published in 1983. Here, she leads the reader on a narrative through her mother's life that reads much like life itself is: quick and energetic at first; long and slow at the end. The story is told in Che This moving memoir tells the story of Elvira Moraga from the point of view of her daughter, Cherríe Moraga, the famous queer Chicana writer and activist probably best known for her role as co-editor of the seminal anthology "This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color," first published in 1983. Here, she leads the reader on a narrative through her mother's life that reads much like life itself is: quick and energetic at first; long and slow at the end. The story is told in Cherríe's voice; she doesn't assume her mother's. In this way, we get a kind of biography that's adjacent to an autobiography. Cherríe's own life is secondary to, yet inextricably entwined with, that of Elvira-- the mother to whom she had, like all mothers and daughters, a fraught but crucial relationship. As Elvira slides into the slow disappearing of Alzheimer's, the reader is taken along a painful and extremely moving journey through personal and cultural histories of indigenous, mestiza, MexicanAmerican women. I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be picking up more of Moraga's work, as well as reading up on Native Californians and the Spanish colonization of the Southwest, which is a chapter of North American history I know too little about. Note: I received and ARC from FSG in exchange for an honest review; opinions are my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Very touching, tears, smiles, thoughts and remembered feelings of my own Mother, stirs up many emotions, mostly Love. New insight into Alzheimer’s and what families suffer. I thank my son for the gift of this book, it truly was a gift.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Octavio Solis

    This beautiful memoir of Cherríe Moraga tracks her relationship with her mother Elvira, not only through the changes that she undergoes in her heart but through the history of our collective Native soul. Unflinchingly personal in its examination of the raw wounds that we measure family by, Cherríe recounts the long troubled life of Elvira as she struggles to find her independence in a world of conflicting loyalties and allegiances. She's a stern parent, sometimes a violent parent, a warrior copi This beautiful memoir of Cherríe Moraga tracks her relationship with her mother Elvira, not only through the changes that she undergoes in her heart but through the history of our collective Native soul. Unflinchingly personal in its examination of the raw wounds that we measure family by, Cherríe recounts the long troubled life of Elvira as she struggles to find her independence in a world of conflicting loyalties and allegiances. She's a stern parent, sometimes a violent parent, a warrior coping with the collective "amnesia" of our indigenous past. And still there's love. This book drips with so much love. Even when she depicts the agonizing and debilitating effects of Alzheimer's Disease as it wreaks its havoc on her beloved mother (and the collateral damage brought on all her family), Cherríe expresses the devout and conflicted love she has for her. This memoir was an education for me, teaching me how to view the choices of our Mexican Mother, our Matriarch, through the unblinkered eyes of our "Indio herencia", preparing me for the sad palliative days that loom ahead for us all.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cristina

    4.5 stars! I listened to Moraga read this memoir (after T told me most of the big picture of the book on a drive from SF to LA, so I knew what to expect, but still wanted to hear it myself). Cherrie Moraga was a big name in the feminist and women of color literary scene I fell into in college in 1987-91 at UCSC, with This Bridge Called My Back. I hadn't heard of her since and was intrigued and pleased to learn she's made a living as a writer. Her mom's story of 1920s Tijuana and her own story of 4.5 stars! I listened to Moraga read this memoir (after T told me most of the big picture of the book on a drive from SF to LA, so I knew what to expect, but still wanted to hear it myself). Cherrie Moraga was a big name in the feminist and women of color literary scene I fell into in college in 1987-91 at UCSC, with This Bridge Called My Back. I hadn't heard of her since and was intrigued and pleased to learn she's made a living as a writer. Her mom's story of 1920s Tijuana and her own story of being a radical feminist were worth listening to, as well as how she dealt with losing her mom, relevant to me as my own mom ages. She's not a dynamic reader, but it's her voice and her accent with all the Spanish that fit perfectly. I lost the thread a few times because of out of order timelines, but it didn't matter much; the story was all there. I'm a fan of self discovery and introspection in light of our ancestry and history of our people in the world, and this book was fulfilling. I appreciated the queerness and frankness of her telling personal stories, too. Oh and she's a poet, so the language was at times mystical and lyrical and always lovely.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Linda Doyle

    Moraga’s heartbreaking memoir touched me deeply. My mother, who recently passed away, suffered dementia for several years, into her late nineties. I wish that I’d had Moraga’s memoir to read a few years back. I would have taken some comfort from it. Moraga writes about her mother’s Alzheimer’s and her eventual death. The emotional upheaval that one suffers—anger, guilt, deep sorrow, hope, frustration—when a parent falls to this disease is clearly depicted. Moraga writes with poetic imagery. Of c Moraga’s heartbreaking memoir touched me deeply. My mother, who recently passed away, suffered dementia for several years, into her late nineties. I wish that I’d had Moraga’s memoir to read a few years back. I would have taken some comfort from it. Moraga writes about her mother’s Alzheimer’s and her eventual death. The emotional upheaval that one suffers—anger, guilt, deep sorrow, hope, frustration—when a parent falls to this disease is clearly depicted. Moraga writes with poetic imagery. Of course, she is a poet. But she also writes in straightforward terms about her mother’s early life as well as the later days of illness. Moraga also goes into detail about her own coming to terms with her homosexuality, her long-term relationship, and her children. But her mother’s story is the heart of this book and by far the most intriguing part of it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julian

    This concise memoir tells the story of Cherríe L. Moraga, and her mother, Elvira. It's sprinkled with Spanish throughout, thoughtfully placing the reader in a setting that feels so intimate. I enjoyed the stories of Elvira's young adult life as told to Cherríe when she was a little girl. As Cherríe grows up, the memories are laden with emotion as she is faced with difficult familial decisions regarding Elvira in her state of mental decline.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Burkhart

    A beautifully written book. I listened to the audiobook version which was read by Moraga. Outstanding all of the way around.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I wasn’t sure I liked this book, but I read it in 2 days and it spoke to many things for me that we don’t usually name.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Feisty Harriet

    3.5 stars. This is a beautiful and heartbreaking memoir, Moraga draws from several generations of her family who are Californian, Mexican, and Native. She herself is queer and closeted, then queer and out, and how she balances family, career, health, relationships, history and future is just...beautiful. The last chunk is about the decline of Moraga's mother due to Alzheimers and dementia and how that impacted their family. This isn't an explosive book, it's more a casual walk down the path of M 3.5 stars. This is a beautiful and heartbreaking memoir, Moraga draws from several generations of her family who are Californian, Mexican, and Native. She herself is queer and closeted, then queer and out, and how she balances family, career, health, relationships, history and future is just...beautiful. The last chunk is about the decline of Moraga's mother due to Alzheimers and dementia and how that impacted their family. This isn't an explosive book, it's more a casual walk down the path of Moraga's family and life, with stories and asides and mini essays along the way.

  16. 4 out of 5

    M.

    Native Country of the Heart is Cherríe Moraga's memoir about and relationship with her mother, Elvira. A friend and I went to go see Moraga speak at the book's release at the People's Forum in New York City, and we were both tearing up with deep feels in relation to the passages she read to us. Us raised in the United States with immigrant Mexican parents. It was powerful to hear someone from another generation (and a formative generation for many–Moraga co-edited This Bridge Called My Back with Native Country of the Heart is Cherríe Moraga's memoir about and relationship with her mother, Elvira. A friend and I went to go see Moraga speak at the book's release at the People's Forum in New York City, and we were both tearing up with deep feels in relation to the passages she read to us. Us raised in the United States with immigrant Mexican parents. It was powerful to hear someone from another generation (and a formative generation for many–Moraga co-edited This Bridge Called My Back with Gloria Anzaldúa) respond to audience questions on current political quandaries relating to xicanx identity and latindad, which is fitting given the book itself works through many thoughts about Mexicanism/Mexican'ness as it has/becomes generationally diluted and removed from indigenous origins (especially people whose family lines come from lands in and around what is now the US/Mexico border. Cherríe Moraga talks about the world surrounding her mother and the circumstances it wrought on her over the years, invariably including her own withdrawn white father and his presence in their family's life. Not just him though–the effects of assimilation/aspiration into white American society come under scrutiny time and again. And not just that, but the ways patriarchy and the brutal surveillance of a colonizer Catholic society contains someone designated 'woman' in said society. For me, Native Country of the Heart was one of those powerful/personal reads about someone's own life and own mother and the mysteries of her life that can only be pieced together from a lifetime of observation/reflection and stored memories imbued into that person's objects and dwelling spaces. The genocidal settling of what we now call Mexico and the United States by what we now call Europeans remains a haunting, and we're all caught up in it no matter who we are on this land. I think these sorts of memoirs that reflect upon one's own family, that ruminate over the circumstances of violence leading to your family's assimilation and forced forgetting–it's just one step, a baby beginning step to cycle breaking. Maybe.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Yates

    I loved this book & wholeheartedly recommend it. It’s the story of Cherríe’s mother, Elvira, a strong, spirited, and complicated woman from the Mexican-American border. Elvira was always the one to take care of everyone, including her rather insubstantial gringo husband. And then she starts to lose her memory, eventually succumbing to Alzheimer’s. This is about Cherríe’s ups and downs with her mother – adulation, rejection, and then slow understanding of the woman she is. At the same time, she g I loved this book & wholeheartedly recommend it. It’s the story of Cherríe’s mother, Elvira, a strong, spirited, and complicated woman from the Mexican-American border. Elvira was always the one to take care of everyone, including her rather insubstantial gringo husband. And then she starts to lose her memory, eventually succumbing to Alzheimer’s. This is about Cherríe’s ups and downs with her mother – adulation, rejection, and then slow understanding of the woman she is. At the same time, she goes deeper, looking into her family roots in Mexico and on the border. She embraces them, connecting them with her mother, and then has to let her mother (and all her mother’s memories) go. The writing is beautiful and evocative. Here Cherríe Moraga writes about her Elvira’s connection to the spirit world: < Elvira, she who had la facultad, as Gloria Anzaldúa called it, to carry all those ghost stories inside of her. How was I to honor them and their carrier in a twenty-first-century AngloAmerica where to reside with the spirits is to reside in a foreign country? We were so far from home, it felt to me – my mother and me – living out her final years in this nation of true amnesiacs that could not contain her calling. But that small white house, a house for which I believed I held no nostalgia, a house I had to leave in order to live, a house I marked as the site and source of my rebellion, had been country to my mother. It had allowed her permission to know what she knew and to reign madre over all of it, even as it occulted itself within the parameters of that narrow lot of crabgrass and rose garden in the smoggy basin of Los Angeles County. > Here, she writes about Elvira’s dying: < She is being called. I feel it, the pull on her from the other side, but I do not allow myself to recognize this, not in my body. It is too simple, too ordinary, too subtle: this shift from one world to the next. The room is animated with spirit; there is no mistaking it, but we are programmed in this culture not to believe what we feel. We deny and argue against this deeper knowing. >

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    Native Country of the Heart by Cherríe L. Moraga is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early April. Despite its seemingly wishy-washy title (this is from someone who just read a book called A Song for the Stars, mind), opening this book and poring over it was like visiting and being around my maternal grandparents, as well as reading the book Borderlands by Gloria E. Anzaldúa in college. However, this is a memoir shared between the author and her mother Elvira, both in the border area between Native Country of the Heart by Cherríe L. Moraga is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early April. Despite its seemingly wishy-washy title (this is from someone who just read a book called A Song for the Stars, mind), opening this book and poring over it was like visiting and being around my maternal grandparents, as well as reading the book Borderlands by Gloria E. Anzaldúa in college. However, this is a memoir shared between the author and her mother Elvira, both in the border area between California & Mexico and in South Pasadena & L.A. And, oi, it really rang true to me when Moraga described a kind of DNA denial of being distantly related to Mexican slavery and poring over the shade of your skin to cue you into being Mayan or Aztec royalty, rather than subservience, figuring out gossip & held grudges by mentally translating the mix of Spanish and English that her mother speaks (I’m totally with ya there, sister), and believing she is committing flagrant sin against the Catholic Church by having impure thought of being anything but heteronormative.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I didn't know what to expect with this book and what I got was truly a gift. Moraga's memoir of life with her mother is so heartfelt and touching that I cried more often than probably intended. There is true love within the pages of the books, along with struggles with reconciling what was and what is. As someone who has followed Moraga's career, I can't help but feel honored that she continues to write and share from her perspective as an elder, able to put into context some of the aspects of he I didn't know what to expect with this book and what I got was truly a gift. Moraga's memoir of life with her mother is so heartfelt and touching that I cried more often than probably intended. There is true love within the pages of the books, along with struggles with reconciling what was and what is. As someone who has followed Moraga's career, I can't help but feel honored that she continues to write and share from her perspective as an elder, able to put into context some of the aspects of her earlier work. While this book was focused on her relationship with her mother, with some peeks into other aspects of her life, this gives me hope that she has more stories to tell. I highly recommend this, especially if you are someone who has lost an elder to Alzheimer's disease.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Cherrie Moraga is a poet and Chicana lesbian activist. Here she traces the life story of her mother, Elvira, from a 1920s girlhood spent working to support her family in the gambling mecca of Tijuana, and the floating casinos of Caliente; through her marriage to a white American, and Cherrie's own childhood in the Pasadena of the 1950s and 60s, and her political and sexual awakening in the 70s; and finally, Elvira's long journey into dementia and death. While also touching upon Cherrie's later l Cherrie Moraga is a poet and Chicana lesbian activist. Here she traces the life story of her mother, Elvira, from a 1920s girlhood spent working to support her family in the gambling mecca of Tijuana, and the floating casinos of Caliente; through her marriage to a white American, and Cherrie's own childhood in the Pasadena of the 1950s and 60s, and her political and sexual awakening in the 70s; and finally, Elvira's long journey into dementia and death. While also touching upon Cherrie's later life, the fierce, unbending Elvira is the heart of this book, and it is through her mother's story that Cherrie attempts to reconnect with her Mexican and Indian roots. 'Native Country of the Heart' is beautifully written, and a reminder of the devastation wrought by colonisation and patriarchy.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    A memoir mostly pertaining to her mother, but Moraga interspersed some of her life in it as well. It was very interesting to read the span of her mother's life and snippets from her father's family. Most of the book is devoted to her mother's eventual decline and struggles with Alzheimer's and how it impacted the entire family. It's a touching telling of a woman whose life spanned many decades and who grapples with just the daily task of living. I love the cover picture. Thanks to NetGalley for A memoir mostly pertaining to her mother, but Moraga interspersed some of her life in it as well. It was very interesting to read the span of her mother's life and snippets from her father's family. Most of the book is devoted to her mother's eventual decline and struggles with Alzheimer's and how it impacted the entire family. It's a touching telling of a woman whose life spanned many decades and who grapples with just the daily task of living. I love the cover picture. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This was a bit too meandering for me. It's hard to put my finger on exactly what it was about it, as its very much the story of Moraga and her mother. It just felt like it jumped all over the place, like there wasn't a core narrative thread running through the whole thing, or even a thematic one. It was a collection of stories and memories that felt somewhat randomly glued together. Although I suspect that people who enjoy memoir more broadly than I do will find plenty to love in this one.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy Caimano

    Well-written and thoughtful. Full of imperfect humans and true to life: no one is perfect, but no one is a monster. The book helped me to be extra thankful that my parents never went through a mental decline. And it also enlightened me about what it is like to be a young Roman Catholic girl, recognizing that her attraction is not to the opposite sex.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Fred Daly

    I read this because I'm looking for books for a course on Native literature that I plan to teach next year. The author is Chicana, and she discusses her heritage a little bit, but mostly this is a book about her mother's descent into Alzheimer's. Since I had the same experience, I found those parts of the story very compelling, but I wasn't as into the parts when she got more spiritual.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    This book was good, but something about it felt lacking. Maybe I was expecting to hear more about cherrie’s childhood and less about her mothers decline. Nonetheless, it was wonderful to read about such an influential woman like cherrie.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Fancher

    Moraga tells the truest story of what it means to be family.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I often use the quote “this bridge called my back” so I felt compelled to read Moraga’s latest. Her writing style is not one I usually care for, but there was something beautiful here.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Georgia

    a memoir about those who come before us and why we can't forget. i felt right there with cherrie moraga as she detailed her and her sisters' tumultuous relationship with their mother.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    A heartfelt, heartbreaking and utterly human story of family and love.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Selina AKA Sel

    I am 28 years old and the year is 2020 and it’s taken this long for me to truly feel seen by a book. ⠀ ⠀ “What la familia Moraga shares historically with multiple generations of Mexicans and MexicanAmericans is the denial of our Native origins. As mestizos, we swallowed the bitter Kool-Aid of colorization-first through the Spanish and then the gringo-that distanced us from the recognition of a living Indigenous presence in our histories, our families, and ourselves” (pg. 179). ⠀ Cherríe Moraga is a I am 28 years old and the year is 2020 and it’s taken this long for me to truly feel seen by a book. ⠀ ⠀ “What la familia Moraga shares historically with multiple generations of Mexicans and MexicanAmericans is the denial of our Native origins. As mestizos, we swallowed the bitter Kool-Aid of colorization-first through the Spanish and then the gringo-that distanced us from the recognition of a living Indigenous presence in our histories, our families, and ourselves” (pg. 179). ⠀ Cherríe Moraga is a foundational writer in Chicana feminism and one of the few writers to introduce the theory of Chicana lesbianism. I’ve read her works in academic settings but Native Country Of The Heart is a memoir about family. Specially a memoir about Cherríe‘s mother, Elvira. Going from Southern California to Mexico to Oakland, we witness Cherríe grow from girl to woman and also witness Elvira grow into her old age. This memoir is about the power of mother/daughter relationships, embracing your sexuality, cultural loss, and the constant search for our identities. ⠀ ⠀ What I also found so significant in this memoir is Moraga’s ability to humanize her mother. I feel like we sometimes forget our parents are human beings with fears, insecurities, and flaws. Moraga honors her mother by honoring her humanity. ⠀ ⠀ This memoir is written by a Chicana for the Chicano/a/x community. This is the first time I can say this book was written for me. It’s a powerful and emotional feeling. Especially right now as I come to terms with my Indigenous self. I have ignored my Indigenous roots and thought it was something I couldn’t claim. Cherríe reflects on this loss as well and interweaves cultural loss into her family history. Cherríe gives me hope that we can always find our way back to things taken away by colonization. Native Country Of The Heart is a love letter to Chicanx culture, to lesbianism, and to Elvira. Please read this beautiful book!

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