I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter


Erika L. Sánchez

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter Themes

Themes and Colors
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Family, Immigrant Cultural Identity, and the Self Theme Icon
Poverty and Entrapment Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

The most potent theme throughout Erika L. Sánchez’s I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is that of secrets and lies. As the novel unfolds and Julia digs deeper into the secrets her recently-deceased older sister Olga left behind, she comes face-to-face with more and more unsettling truths about her family’s past. In the end, Sánchez ultimately suggests that some secrets are too painful to share—and that some lies are actually a mercy, meant to…

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Julia Reyes is desperate to get out of the working-class Chicago suburb she and her family call home—she dreams of being a famous writer, of seeing the world, and of living all alone in a big, beautiful Manhattan apartment. Julia’s fierce restlessness and boundless ambition, however, are threatened by several factors beyond her control: her overbearing mother’s strict rules, the poverty that boxes her and her family into a shabby apartment and a dilapidated neighborhood…

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Julia Reyes has a large, overbearing, and occasionally abusive family. From her judgmental and gossipy Tía Milagros to the predatory Tío Cayetano to Julia’s impossibly strict mother and aloof, silent father, the extended Reyes clan often brings Julia more confusion than comfort. Julia is embarrassed not just of her family, but in many ways, of her cultural identity as well, and of her status as the daughter of immigrants—she feels disconnected from her family’s traditions…

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Julia Reyes and her parents live in a roach-infested apartment in a working-class neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. Stomping roaches dead and mopping up their guts is a regular necessity—and outside of the apartment, things are sometimes even worse. Julia must endure threats and harassment from neighborhood men as well as a chronic lack of money for public transportation and food. Her friends from school, Lorena and Juanga, face similar problems…

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