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Published on Sep 11, 2009
Torn between the high socioeconomic status of her father and the bohemian lifestyle of her mother, Melissa Hart tells a compelling story of contradiction in this coming-of-age memoir. Set in 1970s Southern California, Gringa is the story of a young girl conflicted by two extremes. On the one hand theres life with her mother, who leaves her father to begin a lesbian relationship, taking Hart and her two siblings along. Hart tells of her moms new life in a Hispanic neighborhood of Oxnard, California, and how these new surroundings begin to positively shape Hart herself. At the opposite extreme is her fathers white-bread well-to-do security, which is predictable and stable and boring. Hart is made all the more fraught with frustration when a judge rules that being raised by two women is unnatural and grants her father primary custody.
Hart weaves a powerful story of fleeting moments with her mother, of her unfolding adoration of Oxnards Latino culture, and of the ways in which shes molded by the polarity of her parents worldviews. Hart is faced with opposing ideals, caught between what she is supposed to want and what she actually desires. Gringa offers a touching, reflective look at one girls struggle with the dichotomies of class, culture, and sexuality.