I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

by

Erika L. Sánchez

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter: Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On Saturday afternoon, Julia tells Amá that she’s going to the library to study—but secretly heads for Angie’s house instead. She’s called Angie several times, but her sister’s best friend won’t return her calls. Julia hopes that Angie can tell her something about Olga that she doesn’t know. As she walks down the street, she laments the chilly weather—Julia hates the bitter Chicago winters and the depression they bring. She also thinks about Angie, who is, like Olga was, the perfect Mexican daughter.
Julia is determined to get to the bottom of Olga’s secrets—after striking out on her own hasn’t proven useful, she decides to go directly to someone who knew Olga well. At the same time, the book never paints Julia’s search as being a purely good thing. Instead, it’s complicated: a result of Julia’s simultaneous desire to know her sister and make herself feel better by revealing her sister’s secrets; a hunt for the truth, but also a kind of way of escaping her own pain. Julia is determined in her search, but there is a desperation in the search as well.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
At Angie’s house, Julia is welcomed inside by Angie’s mother, Doña Ramona, who is cooking some spicy food. Julia’s mouth and eyes water at the smell. Julia sits down in the tackily-decorated living room and waits for Angie—who emerges from her room after several minutes dressed in a ratty bathrobe and looking as if she’s been crying. Angie apologizes for her appearance, but Julia lies and tells Angie she looks “as pretty as always.” Julia asks if they can go into Angie’s room so that they can talk in private. Angie agrees, and leads her down the hall.
Angie is still in the throes of grief. Though Julia—and even her parents—have managed to pull themselves together, Angie’s still deeply disturbed. This signals to readers—and to Julia—that she is processing Olga’s death in a different way, and perhaps knows something more that’s contributing to her hopeless state. 
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Julia sits down on the bed in Angie’s room, the walls of which are covered with photos of her and Olga. Julia immediately begins peppering Angie with questions about Olga—whether Olga was texting Angie when she was hit by the bus, and what her connection to The Continental might be. Angie insists she doesn’t know what Julia’s talking about, and when Julia brings up all the lingerie she found in Olga’s room, Angie accuses Julia of trying to “caus[e] trouble” for everyone. Angie tells Julia that she never cared about her sister’s life while she was alive, and is only trying to dredge things about her “love life” up now that she’s dead.
Though Angie professes not to know anything about what Olga may or may not have been up to—and even tries to accuse Julia of cruelty to throw her off the trail—a slip of the tongue clues Julia into the fact that perhaps there was a part of Olga’s life that no one but Angie knew about.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Julia is intrigued by Angie’s voluntary admission that something was up with Olga’s love life, and asks her to say more about it—but Angie becomes upset, and tells Julia she needs to leave. Julia tells Angie that though Angie lost her best friend, Julia lost her sister—and her life “fucking sucks” because of it. Julia storms out of the room, and though Doña Ramona offers that she can stay and have some food, she ducks her tear-stained face and heads for the front door.
Julia is frustrated that there’s clearly something Angie’s hiding from her. She wants to know more about her sister—but because Angie believes that Julia’s just trying to make trouble like always, Julia’s barred from the thing she wants most (and forced to consider whether Angie’s right.) Refusing the offer of food is another instance of Julia failing to connect to her community.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Family, Immigrant Cultural Identity, and the Self Theme Icon
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