• Ordinary Girls

  • A Memoir
  • By: Jaquira Diaz
  • Narrated by: Almarie Guerra
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (320 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A fierce, beautiful, and unflinching memoir from a wildly talented debut author

While growing up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Jaquira Diaz found herself caught between extremes: as her family split apart and her mother battled schizophrenia, she was surrounded by the love of her friends; as she longed for a family and home, she found instead a life upended by violence. From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Rico's history of colonialism, Ordinary Girls vibrates with music and lyricism. Diaz triumphantly maps a way out of despair toward love and hope to become her version of the girl she always wanted to be.

©2019 Jaquira Díaz (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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What listeners say about Ordinary Girls

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Compelling Story That We Don’t Get Enough Of

Ordinary Girls is an amazing story of one woman’s journey from a seemingly impossibly chaotic, violent, and fraught childhood to apparent success as an author and teacher. The problem: Diaz doesn’t give us enough of it! We don’t really understand how she actually overcame all of the obstacles she faced, what happened to her mother, her father, how her sister also ended up going to college and moving abroad? Diaz spends long sections of the book on Puerto Rican history, the “lollipop” child murder, and a navy battleship exercise - these sections all should have been shorter and instead Diaz should have hung more meat on the timeline of her life.

25 people found this helpful

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A Powerful Memoir

ORDINARY GIRLS is a memoir of Jaquira Diaz's life. Born in Puerto Rico's El Caserio Padre Rivera housing project and growing up in Miami Beach, Florida, Diaz's is a life of struggle. A struggle with family, poverty, drug addiction, violence, mental illness, and her own sexual identity. Diaz writes with searing honesty, not shying away from the more troubling events of her life. This is a hard book to listen to, it's a real gut-punch! You will be shocked, disturbed, saddened but also inspired. There is strong love, hope, and triumph throughout the book.

What makes ORDINARY GIRLS so powerful and compelling is that it's not just about the author. It's about her mom, her dad, her grandmothers; it's about her her neighbors, her community, and Puerto Rico; and it's about all other ordinary girls. Diaz uses her memoir to shine light on communities that deserve our attention.

The book is structured as a collection of essays about different times, events, or people in her life. Unlike a typical memoir the format is non-linear, within one essay the timeline will often jump between the past, present and future. I really appreciated this structure and found it created a very interesting and unique type of storytelling.

ORDINARY GIRLS is proof that the best, most compelling stories are true. From the first paragraph to the last, I was completely enthralled with Diaz's story, her life, and her heart. Do yourself a favor: RUN, DON'T WALK to listen to ORDINARY GIRLS!!!

19 people found this helpful

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Fantastic, touching, insightful memoir.

This is a fantastic, touching, insightful memoir of a vital, critical element of America. As a non-Spanish speaker, wish there were translations of the Spanish words and phrases. Format was a little awkward in how it jumped around and changed POV, felt like compilation of separate yet connected essays (perhaps it is? perhaps easier in print?). sometimes the historical references felt disjointed. Narrator's tone was incredible.

14 people found this helpful

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Hard book to hear ...

There is a lot of sadness in this book. A lot of hard lessons as well. I had to stop several times ... perhaps because memories I had long stored away came back to the surface. Perhaps also because I wondered how she made it through.
Glad I finished it and didn’t leave myself wondering.
A heartfelt book and stories Im glad she shared.
We are all Ordinary Girls.

13 people found this helpful

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unexpected

I really loved this book. the author bounces back and forth through different places and times, but brings it together perfectly.

8 people found this helpful

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Couldn’t have been better

Amazing. For a Puerto Rican woman that was born there than raised in New York. I felt like an ordinary girl again.

6 people found this helpful

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Wonderful book

I truly enjoyed this book. I love listening to a story that I can connect to. Especially being Puerto rican like the author.

5 people found this helpful

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for the unseen

Occasionally the audio wasn't fluid but it wasn't enough to take away from the story and likely more an editing correction needed.

As for the story, it felt like an ode to the old neighborhood, families, and failed systems so many of us survived. A reminder that our journeys are fluid and moments of struggle are just that-moments.

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Wish this existed when I was a teenager….

Diaz is exactly the kind of writer I wish I’d had access to as a teenager, when we weee reading the canon. I’m so grateful to be living on a planet where she is creating and sharing her art. My eye welled up at the end. Bravo, Jaquira.

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Amazing

Loved it, so raw and so real. Couldn't put it down, finished in 4 days!