My American Girls

My American Girls

A Dominican Story

DVD - 2001
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This is a vivid portrayal of a year in the life of the Ortiz family -- hard working Dominican immigrants who live frugally in Brooklyn and dream of retiring one day in their native country. Their American-born daughters have different ideas and aspirations. These bittersweet contradictions form the core of the film as we watch the family sort out the rewards and the costs of pursuing the American dream. Sandra, the mother, grew up in the Dominican Republic, with 14 brothers and sisters, where there was no electricity or running water. She came to Brooklyn in 1975, all alone, seeking better work and pay. She and her husband, Bautista, hold two jobs each as hospital cleaners. Despite their long hours and relatively low pay, they provide their children with a comfortable lifestyle and the advantages of an American education. Their daughters represent the next generation of immigrants. Their eldest Monica (21), is an achiever who attends an ivy league college. She has an American boyfriend and has separated herself from the Dominican community, although she maintains close family ties. Aida (16) is a typical middle child, finding her way between the world of the streets and the ambitions of her parents. The youngest daughter Mayra (14) is a self proclaimed "ghetto" kid. She is failing in school and mainly wants to hang out with her friends. Sandra struggles to do right by each of them. Sandra's five-story house is filled with members of the extended family, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and attendant infants. Sandra realizes the irony that fulfilling her retirement dream will mean leaving her family once again. My American Girls captures the immigrant experience at the beginning of the 21st century.
Publisher: Alexandria, VA : Alexander Street, 2001.
Branch Call Number: 325.73
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (62 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4in.

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