I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Written by Erika L. Sánchez
Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.
Primary Source Pairing:
Julia escapes through art, poetry, and books. Her life is harsh and her light at the end of the tunnel is graduating high school and going to college. For this primary source pairing, invite students to learn more about the art Julia loves:
- Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi
- The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso
- The Cybernetic Lobster Telephone by Salvador Dalí
- Poems by Emily Dickson
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Questions for Discussion:
- What do you notice first?
- Find something small but interesting.
- What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
- What do you notice that you can’t explain?
- Make a connection to the book I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and cite textual evidence as to why you think Julia likes this work of art/poem/book.
Book Cover and Summary: Follett