Most notable for her young adult debut novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Erika L. Sánchez shares an equally heartbreaking and comedic story in her memoir, Crying in the Bathroom. The New York Times bestselling author offers readers a firsthand account of her childhood filled with black nail polish and continuous laughter, and the inner workings of a successful writer hanging on the edge of depression. Through these essays, Sánchez utilizes vulnerability as her most powerful tool in writing, as brutal honesty and self-awareness claim their place in prioritizing her mental health. Crying in the Bathroom is an insightful memoir, opening readers up to a world where laughter and heartbreak can coexist.
Erika L. Sánchez
Besides possessing a gift for writing comedy, Erika L. Sánchez is a Mexican-American poet, novelist, and essayist. As previously mentioned, Sánchez published her first novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, in October 2017 with Knopf Books for Young Readers. It quickly became a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Awards finalist. However, Erika L. Sánchez first debuted her writing through a poetry collection, Lessons on Expulsion. Her poems explore the duality of life and death- with borders. As the daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants, she writes about the border between countries, languages, despair and possibility, etc. Her poetry confronts the “sex, shame, race, and an America roiling with xenophobia, violence, and laws of suspicion and suppression.” A breakout writer at the time, Sánchez has since proven to be a literary triple threat.
A Literary Triple Threat
With an author now dominating three literary genres, it’s no surprise Erika L. Sánchez has gained immense critical acclaim over the years. Her poetry collection, Lessons on Expulsion, was published by Graywolf in July 2017 and became a finalist for the PEN America Open Book Award. The best-selling novel I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is being adapted into a film for Netflix. The story follows a young Julia, who loses her sister after a tragic accident and is left to pick up the pieces of grief from familial pressures, expectations, and stereotypes of growing up in a Mexican American home. Although the cast adaptation has yet to be announced, America Ferrera will direct and filming starts in October 2022. If you’re the type to read the book before watching the movie, make sure to do so before the new year begins.
Erika L. Sánchez has gained significant recognition as a Princeton Arts Fellow from 2017-2019, a 2018 recipient of the 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation, and a 2019 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Needless to say, she is a remarkable writer, and her memoir will only solidify the fact.
So, what can we expect from her memoir? Crying in the Bathroom showcases the life of Erika L. Sánchez, growing up as the daughter of Mexican immigrants in Chicago in the nineties and 25 years later as a successful best-selling author. While both humorous and brutally honest, Sánchez highlights the reality of life in all of its awkward, sad, and fulfilling glory. Sometimes our pain is best comforted with humor, and this memoir provides a great example.
According to publisher Penguin Random House, the memoir synopsis is as follows:
“… Erika Sánchez was a self-described pariah, misfit, and disappointment—a foul-mouthed, melancholic rabble-rouser who painted her nails black but also loved comedy, often laughing so hard with her friends that she had to leave her school classroom. Twenty-five years later, she’s now an award-winning novelist, poet, and essayist, but she’s still got an irrepressible laugh, an acerbic wit, and singular powers of perception about the world around her.
In these essays, Sánchez writes about everything from sex to white feminism to debilitating depression, revealing an interior life rich with ideas, self-awareness, and perception. Raunchy, insightful, unapologetic, and brutally honest, Crying in the Bathroom is Sánchez at her best—a book that will make you feel that post-confessional high that comes from talking for hours with your best friend.”
Yes, sometimes laughter can be the best medicine. What’s better than talking and laughing for hours on end with your best friend? I can’t think of anything that matches that high. Crying in the Bathroom: A Memoir is available today, July 12th, 2022. A memoir as moving as it is hilarious will always have a soft spot in my heart. Make sure to add this book to your TBR list and check out Erika L. Sánchez’s other works. You’ll be glad you did.
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