I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

by

Erika L. Sánchez

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter: Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After school one day, Julia takes the bus to Olga’s office. She sits in the waiting room, looking at the list of doctors who work there, but knows there’s no way she can figure out who the mystery man is. When the receptionist asks Julia if she’d like to make an appointment, Julia knows she can’t loiter any longer. Just as she’s about to give up, a man in a dark suit enters the office—it is the mysterious man from Olga’s funeral. The receptionist greets the man as Dr. Castillo. Julia hurries out of the office, but waits outside the building for Castillo to emerge.
The answer to the mystery of Olga’s life has been hiding in plain sight since the start of the novel—the grieving man at the back of her funeral was her married lover, and seeing him again in the flesh fills Julia with dread and anxiety.
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When Dr. Castillo comes out of the office, Julia follows him to his car—a shiny black BMW. Just as he’s about to get, in she confronts him. When he asks who she is, she says she’s Olga’s sister. He replies that Olga was a “wonderful employee” and is missed by all. Julia says she is sure Castillo misses Olga most of all—seeing as he’s the one who got her pregnant. Dr. Castillo tells Julia he can explain everything, and offers to give her a ride to a local diner so they can talk.
The hotheaded Julia, true to her nature, is violently angry with Castillo—she believes he hurt and exploited her sister carelessly. Castillo, however, wants to extend an olive branch—and Julia, surprisingly, accepts his offer to explain things to her.
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At the diner, Dr. Castillo tells Julia that he truly loved Olga—and that when Julia’s older, she’ll be able to understand just how complicated things were between them. Julia asks Dr. Castillo how old he is, and he says he’s forty-six. Julia tells him that he’s older than her and Olga’s father. Dr. Castillo tries to tell Julia that he really did want to marry Olga—especially after he learned she was pregnant. A waitress comes by to take their order, and though Dr. Castillo gets a coffee, Julia decides to take advantage of the free meal and orders a grilled cheese.
Julia’s anger, confusion, and contempt towards Castillo rev her up. She is willing to listen to him, and anxious to hear the truth of what transpired between him and Olga. Her restlessness as she awaits the full explanation is symbolized by her sudden hunger—and she can’t help but feel, as she orders, that she feels like ordering on Castillo’s dime is like taking a miniscule revenge against him (and perhaps in general a revenge against all the rich people who exploit those less fortunate).
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Dr. Castillo opens his wallet and takes out a picture—it is a folded-up ultrasound image. As Julia looks at the image, she wonders aloud how she’ll manage to keep this secret. Dr. Castillo begs her not to tell her parents, claiming that Olga wouldn’t want to “hurt” them—sometimes, he says, it’s best not to tell the truth. Julia asks how she can possibly trust the man who strung her sister along for years—but Dr. Castillo begins crying, and insists he has been “ruined” by Olga’s death. He reveals that since Olga died, he’s gotten a divorce from his wife. Julia points out that he did what Olga wanted too late, then picks up her backpack and leaves.
There are two sides to every story—and as Castillo offers his, Julia feels sadness and rage combined. She can’t believe that the man who strung her sister along for years could possibly have loved her—but as she has learned over and over again throughout the last several months, sometimes, things aren’t what they seem to be. Castillo seems to be legitimately distraught, and to have left his wife when he realized what he lost. And yet, at the same time, he didn’t do enough when Olga was alive. In some ways reminiscent of Connor when Julia was struggling, he never pushed past his own comfort when it truly mattered.
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