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InstaReview: Olga Dies Dreaming by Xóchitl González

"In Olga's heart there was a pin-sized hole of infinite depth that made every day slightly more painful than it needed to be. She thought of it, this hole, as a birth defect. The space where, in a normal heart, a mother's live was meant to be."

Olga Dies Dreaming is a unique story that examines Puerto Rican heritage, political corruption and gentrification through the eyes of the Acevedo family. Olga, daughter of matriarch Blanca, defies her parents career expectations to start her own business as a high-end wedding planner. As she navigates the socialites of New York City, she is constantly reminded of her mother’s disappointment through written correspondence. However, Olga isn’t the only one receiving her mother’s dismay - Prieto, her brother, a congressman battling his own inner demons, is also a frequent recipient of her letters (and sometimes more 🪱). This novel evoked mixed emotions from us. The inclusion of Hurricane Maria’s devastation to Puerto Rico was a visceral reminder of personal ties to the island; as well as the conversation of Puerto Rican statehood versus independence. We enjoyed the nuance of the narrative coming from a revolutionary family and thought that the characters were multi-dimensional. However, we felt there was an excessive amount of extraneous narrative and were split on our feelings of Blanca - some liked how she was a villain, while others found the lack of redeeming qualities burdensome.


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