Photo by Maria Esquinca
Writer Jaquira Díaz grew up in a neighborhood where outsiders didn’t go: Puerto Rico’s El Caserío Padre Rivera housing project. Her mom worked all the time, and her dad? “My father was a drug dealer,” she says. As a child, she’d see him counting out the wadded dollar bills he’d earned in that deadly trade.
Later he moved the family to Miami, and found work that was lawful. But Díaz says her mother was temperamental and violent, and finally diagnosed as schizophrenic. Her new memoir, Ordinary Girls, tells the story of her struggles — with her family, with poverty, with violence and with her own sexuality. She spoke to NPR’s Steve Inskeep about it – check out their conversation here.