11 Memoirs And Autobiographies Written By Latinas Every Woman Should Read

When one person’s life story is immortalized within the crisp white pages of a volume, the results can be powerful.

That’s because memoirs and autobiographies can move readers who empathize with the author’s adversities, identity crisis, loss, trauma, triumph and more. And when people ensure their own life experiences reflected in a book, it can be both cathartic and inspiring.

Many Latinas have shared their unbelievable life narratives with the world in the form of prose over the years, and we picked some of the most popular.

Here are 11 memoirs and autobiographies written by Latinas every woman should read 😛 TAGEND

1 My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Amazon

“Those who recollect the stilted Sotomayor confirmation hearings will learn from this volume that the real Sonia Sotomayor is a most varied[ person ]. She is a joyous, compassionate Latina who revels in her heritage; she is the child of an alcoholic parent, a chilly mother and a grandmother who served as her source of ‘protection and purpose.’ She is, by her own telling, a logical intellectual, who clawed her way to success through self-reliance, discipline and the help of mentors and friends.” — Nina Totenberg, NPR

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2 A Cup of Water Under My Bed by Daisy Hernndez

Amazon

“[ In A Cup of Water Under My Bed ,] Hernndez describes how, as a child, she moved further away from her Colombian-Cuban family by entering the world of English, a language they didnt speak. Now, with lucid prose, she comes back to them, painting a portrait both affectionate and raw of growing up in a working class immigrant neighborhood in New Jersey. She examines the warmth and ache she found in her its relation with their own families, the varied reactions they had when she came out as bisexual, and the cognitive dissonance she experienced as she became upwardly mobile.” — Braden Goyette, The Huffington Post

Image via Amazon ,] Hernndez describes how, as small children, she moved further away from her Colombian-Cuban family by entering the world of English, a language they didnt speak. Now, with lucid prose, she comes back to them, painting a portrait both affectionate and raw of growing up in a working class immigrant neighborhood in New Jersey. She investigates the warmth and ache she found in her relationships with her family, the varied reactions they had when she came out as bisexual, and the cognitive dissonance she experienced as she became upwardly mobile.” — Braden Goyette, The Huffington Post

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3 When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

Amazon

“Choosing to use an virtually documentary style, with episodes held together by a protagonist for whom we have concern as well as admiration, Santiago’s first major published work is a touching and uncovering memoir of a Puerto Rican girl and the rites of passageway she endures on her way to womanhood and, ultimately, Americanization.” — Yvonne V. Sapia, Los Angeles Times

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4 Handbook for an Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother and Still Came Out Smiling( with Great Hair) by Rosie Perez

Amazon

“The bigger issue of the book is surviving childhood. The moral isreally, how do you not allow your past to totally define you as an adult? And how do you not let the emotional answers that served to protect you as a child , not dictate your emotional responses today? — Rosie Perez in an interview with Fox News Latino .

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5 Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina by Raquel Cepeda

Amazon

“Cepeda turns inward with her memoir Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina. Telling the histories of a young woman whose life was turned upside down over and over again, Bird of Paradise is her tale of redemption, of her search to understand her identity in a society that told her over and over again that she did not matter.” — Dr. David J. Leanord, The Huffington Post

Image via Amazon . Telling the story of a young lady whose life was turned upside down over and over again, is her narrative of redemption, of her search to understand her identity in a society that told her over and over again that she did not matter.” — Dr. David J. Leanord, The Huffington Post

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6 The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande

Simon and Schuster

“Immigration has opened a divide between the members of the Grande family that’s 2,000 miles wide. But even when Reyna intersects this divide to live with her father in California, the metaphorical link bind her to a tragically poor corner of Mexico will not die. Iguala and its unpaved streets, its rural superstitions and its hunger never let go of either young Reyna, her parents or any of her siblings in The Distance Between Us, a heart-wrenching account of her impoverished childhood and violence-tinged adolescence.” — Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times

Image via Simon& Schuster , a heart-wrenching account of her impoverished childhood and violence-tinged adolescence.” — Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times

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7 Rita Moreno: A Memoir by Rita Moreno

Amazon

“Charting her tale from her early days in Puerto Rico, Rita describes the beauty of her childhood with almost an artistic viewdescribing sights and sounds, and then suddenly her abrupt move to New York with her single mama, who left behind their entire life to start over in a tenement in the Bronx. Coming from beauty and going into the ugly was a culture shock for young Rita, who couldnt speak a word of English and through a misunderstanding in the hospital with a bout of chicken pox ultimately began to grasp the language.” — Nikki Luongo, The Huffington Post

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8 Almost A Woman by Esmeralda Santiago

Amazon

“This sequel to the story of Santiago’s childhood( When I Was Puerto Rican) encompasses her life as an adolescent and young woman when she lived in Brooklyn, New York, with her mother and 10 siblings during the course of its 1960 s. Puerto Rican immigrants, the family suffered through periods of poverty exemplified by the author’s trips to the welfare office with Mami, where she translated her mother’s Spanish so that they could obtain benefits. Santiago’s good humor, zest for life and fighting spirit permeate her chronicle and moderate potential impacts of the hard time she describes.” — Publishers Weekly

Image via Amazon ) covers their own lives as an adolescent and young woman when she lived in Brooklyn, New York, with her mother and 10 siblings during the 1960 s. Puerto Rican immigrants, the family suffered through periods of poverty exemplified by the author’s trips to the welfare office with Mami, where she translated her mother’s Spanish so that they could obtain benefits. Santiago’s good humor, zest for life and fighting spirit imbue her chronicle and moderate potential impacts of the hard times she describes.” — Publishers Weekly

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9 American Chica by Marie Arana

Amazon

“Arana, daughter of a Peruvian father and an American mom, insures herself as a hybrid, a fusion of Latina and Anglo, personifying both cultures but an outsider in each … Within this winning portrait of a bicultural childhood are a host of notable charactersthe mysterious Peruvian grandfather who stayed in his upstairs room for 20 years, the tradition-bound Peruvian grandmother who ruled the family, the young gardener who taught Arana about her spirit, and( most of all) her parents, whose difficult but enduring marriage is at the very center of her story.” — Kirkus Review

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10 Havana Real: One Woman Battle To Tell The Truth About Cuba Today by Yoani Snchez

Amazon

“[ Yoani Snchez’s] Havana Real: One Woman Battle to Tell the Truth About Cuba Today speaks for the generation who came of age after the U.S.S.R. collapsed. This devastated Cuba( the Soviets rendered 80 percent of Cuban importations) and marked the start of the special period in a time of peace, to quote Fidel Castros Orwellian word … The volume unflinchingly recounts the Special Period and after: the food ration cards, the ‘hamburgers’ made of fried grapefruit rinds, the convicts who opted to have their teeth pulled since the prison soft diet was more nutritious than the standard one.” — Katharine Whittemore, The Boston Globe speaks for the generation who came of age after the U.S.S.R. collapsed. This devastated Cuba( the Soviets furnished 80 percent of Cuban imports) and marked the start of the special period in a time of peace, to quote Fidel Castros Orwellian term … The volume unflinchingly recounts the Special Period and after: the food ration cards, the ‘hamburgers’ made of fried grapefruit rinds, the convicts who opted to have their teeth pulled since the prison soft diet was more nutritious than the standard one.” — Katharine Whittemore, The Boston Globe

11 Borderlands/ La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzalda

Amazon

“Remember back in 2010 when Arizona passed a law that banned Mexican-American studies courses in Arizona high schools? Well, Anzaldas La Frontera, published 25 years earlier, was one of the books that were banned and collected from classrooms. Anzalduas semi-autobiographical book takes on colonialism, race, and gender in an incredibly interesting way, often utilizing different kinds of Spanish and English in order to impress on the reader the language difficulties she and others living in what she calls the ‘borderlands, ‘ navigating different cultures. It was controversial and moving in the ‘8 0s when she wrote it, and as the Arizona law demonstrates, its as controversial and crucial today.” — Crystal Paul, Bustle

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