Yo: Short Story and Yolanda Garcia

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In Julia Alvarez's Yo!, Yolanda Garcia's family and friends get their chance to tell the truth about Yo. They express their feelings and their stories about Yo, including how she's always told lies, how she stole the plot for a story from a student, and how her college professor kept trying to prevent her from ruining her life and her talents. Alvarez tells Yolanda's story through other characters, while Yo is denied the privilege of defending herself. It is ironic because initially, the novel is based on Yolanda and how angry her loved ones are after she publishes a book that exposes personal things about each of them. In this novel, these very people are working to set the story straight and portray the true Yolanda Garcia that they know, a liar, a plagiarist, and a dropout.

As a writer, it is expected that Yolanda have quite an imagination. This talent, however, has gotten her into trouble a time or two. Yolanda Garcia loved to tell stories, but in this new country, not everyone knew what was true and what was fiction. Her mother expresses the problems they endured at the expense of Yo's stories. "'Her teacher says she loves stories. But some of the ones she tells, well-‘ She lets out a sigh. She tosses her braid behind her back like she doesn't want it to hear this. ‘Frankly, they are a little disturbing,'" (33).* In this novel, Yolanda's mother gets the chance to defend herself and to show that because of Yolanda's obscure stories, her lifestyle was in jeopardy.

*All citations are taken from: Julia Alvarez. Yo. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1997.
Writers are to be creative, inventive, and of course original. But through the eyes of a student of Yolanda Garcia, we see that Yo's career is maybe built upon lies. Lou Castellucci took a writing course, and his professor was none other than Yolanda Garcia. Throughout the course of the class, she criticized his writing but encouraged and helped him to improve. By the end of the course, she was very...
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