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Monday, February 21, 2011

My Thoughts: What Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Perez


Seventeen-year-old Marisa's mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. And they expect her to marry a boy from the neighborhood, to settle down, and to have grandbabies. If she wants a job, she could always be an assistant manager at the local grocery store.
At school, it's another story. Marisa's calc teacher expects her to ace the AP test and to get into an engineering program in Austin—a city that seems unimaginably far away. When her home life becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere—and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn't sure what she wants—other than a life where she doesn't end each day thanking God it's over.


I don't know how I feel about Ashley Hope Perez's debut novel What Can't Wait. I liked the writing, and I liked the characters-mostly- but something bothered me about this book.

Marissa is a great girl. She works hard in school and at her job, she also works hard to please her family, even when her family seems hell bent on destroying her future. I think that's what bothered me about What Can't Wait; here was this girl, who was smart and I mean really smart, and she had big dreams. She wanted to beat the odds of her family and get a post secondary education. She did not want to be like her older sister who had a baby at 17 and was now married to a dead beat. Her family however-mainly her mother and father- did not want this for her. To them Marissa's grades were of no importance. This made me really sad. Her father would get annoyed when she left her math book on the kitchen table.

I guess my problem with is how against university Marissa's parents were, I would assume that they would want the best for her. I don't understand this concept of striving for an entry level job. I guess I am one of those 'go to university to get a better education to get a better paying job' type of people. Marissa's parents did not think more schooling was important. They thought it was her duty to work and make an income so the she could contribute to the family. They also expected her to watch her niece whenever they asked regardless of any school work that needed to be done in order for her to graduate. This really irritated me, and I found it hard to read when Marissa was being told all of this, and how sometimes she would let it get to her. She would sometimes give up and not concern herself with school at all.

I DID NOT hate this book. I liked it well enough. I don't think that I wasted my time at all while reading this story. I just felt frustrated and annoyed at Marissa's situation. I assume there are some parents who are out there who don't care what they're kids do as long as it brings in the money. This upsets me.


Happy Reading Everyone!



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6 comments:

  1. Mmm... I think that what you didn't like is largely a cultural thing. My grandma was like you describe her parents to be, she didn't impose too much or said I shouldn't go to college, but school was not important to her, she rather I learned to cook well than to make good grades.

    So, I guess it has something to do with that. I got this book too form NetGalley and I do want to read it, see how it turns out - I'm very critical of latin characters.

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  2. I got the feeling it was a cultural thing, however I also think it's an issue that surronds low income families. I see it in my city as well. It was good, and it had a happy ending. Sort of.

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  3. Hmm, I'd probably be frustrated with that as well. Perhaps it is either a cultural thing or low income thing as you and Alex suggested. Anyways, I enjoyed reading your thoughts as usual!

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  4. Happy Friday, Sara! Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hi!

    Old follower:) Have a great weekend!
    Kristin@ My Bookish Ways

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  6. There's lots of people out there like that.

    It sounds like a book that will speak to girls in a certain demographic.

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