I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Books Symbol Icon

Whereas food represents Julia’s restlessness, ambition, and desire for more than she has in the present, books serve as a symbol of escapism throughout the novel. Julia reads books when she wants to zone out of overwhelming or uncomfortable family gatherings, when her home and school life become too difficult to navigate on her own, or when she simply wants to get out of her own head for a little while. Even reading difficult or existential books comfort Julia in tough times, such as when she retreats into reading Albert Camus’s The Stranger after having a big fight with Lorena and Juanga. Books allow Julia to feel like she can get away from her present circumstances, even just for a little while.

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Books Symbol Timeline in I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

The timeline below shows where the symbol Books appears in I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Family, Immigrant Cultural Identity, and the Self Theme Icon
...and being stuck in her working-class neighborhood forever. Julia tries to distract herself with a book, but even reading—her favorite activity—doesn’t work. Julia spies a picture of her and Olga on... (full context)
Chapter 6
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Family, Immigrant Cultural Identity, and the Self Theme Icon
Amá, Apá, and Julia are getting ready to go to Julia’s cousin Victor’s seventh birthday party—a party that Julia believes is just... (full context)
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Family, Immigrant Cultural Identity, and the Self Theme Icon
Julia heads back inside, where she sits on the sofa and begins reading The Catcher in the Rye. Amá often yells at her for reading at parties, but... (full context)
Chapter 10
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Julia sits down and pulls out Camus’s The Stranger. She gets lost in the book until Mr. Ingman approaches her and asks her about what she’s reading. When she reveals... (full context)
Chapter 12
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Family, Immigrant Cultural Identity, and the Self Theme Icon
Poverty and Entrapment Theme Icon
...a guillotine.” She’s been forced to take waltz classes though she’s hopeless at dancing, and dreads the “bland food” and “odious music” which will be part of her celebration, as they’re... (full context)
Chapter 14
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Poverty and Entrapment Theme Icon
...half-day one day, Julia takes the train to Wicker Park, where she visits a used bookstore. She has seventeen dollars saved from her lunch money, and is hoping to treat herself... (full context)
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
After flirting back and forth about their favorite—and least-favorite—books for a few minutes, Julia and the boy, whose name is Connor, introduce themselves to... (full context)
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Family, Immigrant Cultural Identity, and the Self Theme Icon
Poverty and Entrapment Theme Icon
...time, and gorges herself on the delicious spicy food. Afterwards, they return to the used bookstore and then walk to the park, where they sit on a bench and make out.... (full context)
Chapter 17
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Family, Immigrant Cultural Identity, and the Self Theme Icon
Poverty and Entrapment Theme Icon
...to help her. Julia asks if she’s going to be locked up like in the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Dr. Cooke applauds Julia for maintaining her sense... (full context)