My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education

Picador. Sept. 2019. 208p. ISBN 9781250299437. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9781250299444. SOC SCI
In her first book of essays, Crucet (English & ethnic studies, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln; Make Your Home Among Strangers) reflects on her experiences as a first-generation college student, as well as the limits of the American Dream, Cuban and American politics, marriage and divorce, culture clashes, financial planning, working in academia, and family communication and conflicts in theory-informed, narrative-driven essays. As a Latina and first-generation American, Crucet takes on privilege, whitesplaining, and white tears; the gulf that can grow between first- generation Americans and their immigrant families; and the contradictions and self-deceptions inherent in the American Dream. Notably, the author also discusses the role of fantasy in dominant U.S. culture and the importance and potential of reclaiming fantasy in order to envision one’s possible future(s); the promise of color-blindness and the reality of cultural erasure; and the way dominant cultures change depending on where you are, and how what seems possible in one place becomes impossible elsewhere.
VERDICT Crucet’s well-written essays are entertaining and accessible, without letting readers or the author herself off the hook for reflecting on and addressing cultural issues. Strongly recommended for all readers.
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