Monday, December 12, 2005

Turkish Lover

Turkish Lover by Esmeralda Santiago is the story of a Puerto Rican woman who fights all stereotypical fates to lead a decent life and finally graduate from Harvard. It is a powerful personal memoir that starts with her migration to the United States and her life with a large family headed by her single mother. She graduates from the performing arts high school, having learnt Indian Dance. She finds various secretarial jobs and pursues courses from a Community college alongside.
Unable to find her identity and space in her mothers house, she moves to Florida with her lover , Ulvi. Ulvi who is much older than her is Turkish. Her mother, needless to say is more than just upset with her.
Esmeralda portrays the contrasts between her native culture and her adopted one beautifully. For those who have grown up in any kind of a multicultural setting, this book is a must read.
While she escaped from her mother for the sole reason of finding an identity, she finds that with Ulvi too , her individuality is submerged. He only loves the person who he thinks she is and cannot accommodate her individuality. ‘You are becoming too free, Chiquita.’
Finally, she overcomes his dominance over her life and graduates from Harvard University, a far fetched dream for a Puerto Rican girl in those times.