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The narrator of Letters to My Mother is a young Afro-Cuban girl who, upon the death of her mother, must live with her aunt and cousins. Dependent on them and their good will, she finds their taunts about how dark her skin is and their attacks on her behavior, including her choice not to straighten her hair, deeply wounding. To keep her mother alive somehow, and to remember that she was once deeply loved, she writes letters telling Mamita what she is suffering and feeling. Over the course of this powerful and moving novel, the heroine grows up. Her inner strength helps her to overcome her pain and the racism of at least some of the people around her. And her position in the family changes as she learns to accept herself and others.

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