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The Turkish Lover: A Memoir

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Enthralled admirers of Esmeralda Santiago's memoirs of her childhood have yearned to read more. Now, in The Turkish Lover, Esmeralda finally breaks out of the monumental struggle with her powerful mother, only to elope into the spell of an exotic love affair. At the heart of the story is Esmeralda's relationship with "the Turk," a passion that gradually becomes a prison ou Enthralled admirers of Esmeralda Santiago's memoirs of her childhood have yearned to read more. Now, in The Turkish Lover, Esmeralda finally breaks out of the monumental struggle with her powerful mother, only to elope into the spell of an exotic love affair. At the heart of the story is Esmeralda's relationship with "the Turk," a passion that gradually becomes a prison out of which she must emerge to become herself. The expansive humanity, earthy humor, and psychological courage that made Esmeralda's first two books so successful are on full display again in The Turkish Lover.


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Enthralled admirers of Esmeralda Santiago's memoirs of her childhood have yearned to read more. Now, in The Turkish Lover, Esmeralda finally breaks out of the monumental struggle with her powerful mother, only to elope into the spell of an exotic love affair. At the heart of the story is Esmeralda's relationship with "the Turk," a passion that gradually becomes a prison ou Enthralled admirers of Esmeralda Santiago's memoirs of her childhood have yearned to read more. Now, in The Turkish Lover, Esmeralda finally breaks out of the monumental struggle with her powerful mother, only to elope into the spell of an exotic love affair. At the heart of the story is Esmeralda's relationship with "the Turk," a passion that gradually becomes a prison out of which she must emerge to become herself. The expansive humanity, earthy humor, and psychological courage that made Esmeralda's first two books so successful are on full display again in The Turkish Lover.

30 review for The Turkish Lover: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    How come our generation does not ask for "la bendicion"? I still hear my mother asking for it from my grandfather and her uncles. I loved this book, although at times I wanted to scream at her for staying with Ulvi and putting up with his shit for so long. But, I can also understand her situation. She is who she is because of what she has been through. I can identify with that. Great story--I love the spanish throughout the novel and references to our culture. I miss P.R. How come our generation does not ask for "la bendicion"? I still hear my mother asking for it from my grandfather and her uncles. I loved this book, although at times I wanted to scream at her for staying with Ulvi and putting up with his shit for so long. But, I can also understand her situation. She is who she is because of what she has been through. I can identify with that. Great story--I love the spanish throughout the novel and references to our culture. I miss P.R.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anna Ligtenberg

    ISBN 0738208205 - I often wondered, as I read this book, whether it was among the most self-serving blather I'd read in ages or one of the best books I'd read in years. Really, what's more self-serving than immortalizing your own existence in a book? And how much better when that book makes a former lover, who treated you poorly, look like a fool - repeatedly? In the end, though, the answer is - one of the best books I've read in years! If the periodic Spanish phrase intimidates the English-read ISBN 0738208205 - I often wondered, as I read this book, whether it was among the most self-serving blather I'd read in ages or one of the best books I'd read in years. Really, what's more self-serving than immortalizing your own existence in a book? And how much better when that book makes a former lover, who treated you poorly, look like a fool - repeatedly? In the end, though, the answer is - one of the best books I've read in years! If the periodic Spanish phrase intimidates the English-reading-only, don't let that stop you - almost every phrase is smoothly translated in the text. Esmeralda Santiago, oldest of eleven children, runs away from home. At age 21, "runs away" sounds strange, but it is what she does. To be with her probably-Armenian-insists-he's-Turkish lover, Ulvi Dogan, she leaves her mother's home and begins to find herself by first leaving behind "Negi", the name she was called at home. Ulvi likes her just the way she is - naive, innocent, rather obedient and not at all a "spoiled American girl" - and calls her Chiquita. He treats her almost like property, looks on her family with disdain and works hard to keep her from growing, changing, and making friends. What Ulvi likes about her, and the way she honestly writes about it, makes the reader actually understand a little why she stays with this man, who is seventeen years older than she and would obviously not be able to have a relationship with a strong-willed, independent woman of his own age with opinions of her own - one who would certainly not let him call her "Chiquita". Without her honesty, the sentence "I was nothing Ulvi had told me many times." on page 23 would leave the reader wondering what could possibly be worth reading for the next 300 pages. Esmeralda's relationship with Ulvi begins to end from the very start, when he returns from a stay in the hospital and locks himself in the bedroom to talk to another woman. It takes years to conclude. From Florida to New York to Texas and back to the east coast, often together, sometimes apart, Ulvi and Esmeralda seem to live two lives - his and theirs. Every break-up or time spent apart gives her more insight into herself and more courage to become Esmeralda, with her own life, until - one step at a time - she eventually finds herself, in every sense of the phrase, at Harvard. It seemed only fitting to me that her graduation should be in Boston in 1976, the 200th anniversary of the independence of America. One small pleasure, for the nosy (like me!) reader: run "Ulvi Dogan" through a search engine. More than half of the hits are for this book, very few relate to "his" movie. A small thing, but I disliked the guy enough to smile when I saw that! I feel as if I should confess that I'm white, and living in a neighborhood that is mostly Hispanic and that a good chunk of the Spanish population here is Puerto Rican. Maybe that's what ultimately made this book such a pleasure - I could identify bits and pieces of culture and tradition from the book in the lives of people I know and care about. Or maybe it's that, despite her constant reference to her culture and the race issues that crop up throughout, Esmeralda's just a woman, and this is a story any woman of any age or race can relate to on some level. Either way, this title's well worth the time and has me looking forward (or, more accurately, backward) to finding her other works. - AnnaLovesBooks

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeannette

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I absolutely loved this book, and I love Esmeralda Santiago. I wish I could run into her on the street so I could buy her a cup of coffee and ply her with questions for a half hour. Like her other memoirs, she writes this one with complete honesty and as much objectivity as she can muster. In some ways, I can relate to her situation, which probably colors my view on the matter, but it is more than the similarities that speak to me. In this book, Santiago continues to explore what it means to be b I absolutely loved this book, and I love Esmeralda Santiago. I wish I could run into her on the street so I could buy her a cup of coffee and ply her with questions for a half hour. Like her other memoirs, she writes this one with complete honesty and as much objectivity as she can muster. In some ways, I can relate to her situation, which probably colors my view on the matter, but it is more than the similarities that speak to me. In this book, Santiago continues to explore what it means to be both Puerto Rican and herself, while also dealing with a difficult relationship, moving from location to location, school, and finances. In short, it's the story of someone in their twenties. Esmeralda's relationship with Ulvi is just one of the many complicated facets of her life. He is the impetus for the changes in her circumstances, but not the reason. As she herself says, she had been leaving for a long time. I can see how the book could be boring or frustrating to some. Ulvi is frustrating, and the lack of knowledge about him makes him appear flat and a bit cruel. Flat characters are uninteresting. But I think people who have been in bad relationships can understand: sometimes things are flat or unpleasant, and still you stay. You don't know why. Santiago doesn't give us any insight into that why, which can make it feel like she's holding back, but she does describe the feeling with perfect understanding. She's frustrated when she stands apart from the situation, and can't remember why when she's close to it. It's a bit creepy when you think too much about it, but it's frighteningly real. Watching her shed Ulvi and "Chiquita" and seeing her emerge as Esmeralda is both beautiful and inspiring. She begins as a poor girl with just a bag containing a couple of dresses and sandals, and she ends a magna cum laude Harvard graduate. And she manages this completely independent of her family, and only minimal support on Ulvi's part. The rest she achieves on her own. It's a story that makes me believe. That alone is worth the read to me. In her acknowledgments, Esmeralda Santiago promises to write another book about the next chapter of her life. I hope she means that, because I certainly can't wait to read it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kipahni

    This is not the type of book I would pick up and I am extremely critical of memoirs. However a lady at work gave it to me to read knowing I was a traveled and learned woman. Santiago captures the essence of Puerto Rican culture and paints a vivid story of her life with her Turkish love interest. I found myself identifying with her a lot in the relationship she had with Ulvi. The idea that the love you create as a wall to protect you can easily become a prison you want to escape. It is only by tr This is not the type of book I would pick up and I am extremely critical of memoirs. However a lady at work gave it to me to read knowing I was a traveled and learned woman. Santiago captures the essence of Puerto Rican culture and paints a vivid story of her life with her Turkish love interest. I found myself identifying with her a lot in the relationship she had with Ulvi. The idea that the love you create as a wall to protect you can easily become a prison you want to escape. It is only by trust and open heart and listening and stating your needs that the wall is not your prison or protection but becomes a stepping stone to rise above situations and expand and reach higher. And that is what was missing in the authors relationship, she didn't know what she wanted, their relationship did not have the foundation of trust needed and neither listened to the other (she expressed her opinions, he didn't care or find them interesting. He said "no one could love you like I do" and she could not hear that he was trying to isolate her.) This is how a memoir should be written, like fiction so that even the most mundane life seems like a wonderful tale. The characters should grow and you should have emotional ties to them. I hope when the day comes and I write my own tale, I will have such insight and poetic form in my story as santiago has in hers

  5. 4 out of 5

    Monica Casanova

    This author is my personal favorite. Sharing the same culture, I can immediately relate and register what she's saying as feelings I've had myself. I always like to read her work in spanish but I read it in english and felt that she had really evolved to be ale to express herself JUST as powerfully in both languages. Her previous books I enjoyed in spanish because I know as a Puerto Rican spanish speaker, it would resinate with me even more so by having that flow that can be kinda butchered when This author is my personal favorite. Sharing the same culture, I can immediately relate and register what she's saying as feelings I've had myself. I always like to read her work in spanish but I read it in english and felt that she had really evolved to be ale to express herself JUST as powerfully in both languages. Her previous books I enjoyed in spanish because I know as a Puerto Rican spanish speaker, it would resinate with me even more so by having that flow that can be kinda butchered when translated to english. This memoir of here's is so deep and beautifully written, I could feel the intensity she felt, and the love that consumed her with her Turkish lover. It's definitely a book that I had to wait to read since I started reading her work at 15, but any mature mind (and particularly a woman) would enjoy this book. If you enjoy getting a taste of culture, reality and feel like you can relate, this book is definitely one to check out.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Doreen

    I'm so glad I read this book. It's a continuation of, "Almost a Woman" about life for the next six years with Ulvi. Her life with the mysterious, chauvinistic Ulvi takes her across the country. She lands in Lubbock, TX, Syracuse, NY, and Boston, MA. Her writing remains honest and simple to read. It's amazing to witness her growth and transformation from Ulvi's 'Chiquita', to her own, true Esmeralda. While, "Almost a Woman" was a coming-of-age novel, this one can be labeled as a growing-into-woma I'm so glad I read this book. It's a continuation of, "Almost a Woman" about life for the next six years with Ulvi. Her life with the mysterious, chauvinistic Ulvi takes her across the country. She lands in Lubbock, TX, Syracuse, NY, and Boston, MA. Her writing remains honest and simple to read. It's amazing to witness her growth and transformation from Ulvi's 'Chiquita', to her own, true Esmeralda. While, "Almost a Woman" was a coming-of-age novel, this one can be labeled as a growing-into-womanhood novel. An inspiring story.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    How is it that powerful, fiery, smart, beautiful young women give up so much of who they really are for (controlling) men? As this book unfolds, it's great to see how Esmeralda begins to stand up for herself and grow. And the writing is good--makes you want to turn the page. How is it that powerful, fiery, smart, beautiful young women give up so much of who they really are for (controlling) men? As this book unfolds, it's great to see how Esmeralda begins to stand up for herself and grow. And the writing is good--makes you want to turn the page.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Yvette

    A beautiful memoir that proves that even smart, independent women can be caught in a unhealthy relationship. Santiago's tale is very candid and touched me deeply. I loved the depiction of Puerto Rican culture, our rich heritage, and how difficult it must have been and is for the many Puerto Ricans who come to mainland looking for a better / different life. Many times they can assimilate, sometimes they can't and return to the island, and other times they are suspended in a world somewhere in bet A beautiful memoir that proves that even smart, independent women can be caught in a unhealthy relationship. Santiago's tale is very candid and touched me deeply. I loved the depiction of Puerto Rican culture, our rich heritage, and how difficult it must have been and is for the many Puerto Ricans who come to mainland looking for a better / different life. Many times they can assimilate, sometimes they can't and return to the island, and other times they are suspended in a world somewhere in between. I think all humans, not just Latinos can appreciate this rich book about human interaction and our desire to be loved, accepted, and appreciated.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Missmath144

    This is the memoir of Esmeralda Santiago, a young Puerto Rican woman who leaves her home and family to be with her Turkish lover, "el hombre que yo amo". He is domineering, yet she doesn't seem able to break his power over her. This is the memoir of Esmeralda Santiago, a young Puerto Rican woman who leaves her home and family to be with her Turkish lover, "el hombre que yo amo". He is domineering, yet she doesn't seem able to break his power over her.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Susan Wojtas

    3.75 stars

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn Maya

    Although I have some complaints, this book was well worth reading for the quality of the writing and the way the author seamlessly creates her setting, scenes, and words in Spanish. The story is amazing as well. Santiago's prose is beautiful and I found myself not being able to stop reading I loved the start of this book because I lived in the same Brooklyn neighborhood where Esmeralda Santiago starts her memoir. She is leaving her family for her Turkish lover. When she reminisces or complains ab Although I have some complaints, this book was well worth reading for the quality of the writing and the way the author seamlessly creates her setting, scenes, and words in Spanish. The story is amazing as well. Santiago's prose is beautiful and I found myself not being able to stop reading I loved the start of this book because I lived in the same Brooklyn neighborhood where Esmeralda Santiago starts her memoir. She is leaving her family for her Turkish lover. When she reminisces or complains about her past eight years living in New York, I realized we could have been friends. Or not. Explanation coming later. I am also Puerto Rican but born in Brooklyn, New York. My father was born in Puerto Rico and that shaped his life as well as Esmeraldas. She goes to The High School of the Performing Arts, where I was also accepted, but not allowed to attend, because my mother wouldn't sign the permission papers. Esmeralda is 21 when she escaped the poverty and crime of her Barrio to go to Florida with her lover. I was sixteen and got married to escape my bipolar mother. Her life in Manhattan brought so many memories back of the seventies. I am close to her age and also searched for jobs at the Snelling and Snelling Employment Agency. I also yearned for education. The difference is, and I realized this after reading the book—I wasn't as driven, ambitious, and talented as she was. Santiago was a dark-skinned Puerto Rican who experienced both praises for her beauty, and racism for her color. I presented as white but had severe acne and a crossed eye, so I never was called "Spic," as she was, but "ugly" and not a real Puerto Rican. So, we both had issues related to looks and culture. I loved that about the book. The Turkish lover, Ulvi is drawn as a cad, a sleaze, and a conman. We never see, until the later part of the book, what the attraction for her is. I surmised that part of the allure was getting away from a too-close family. Her mother is complicated. Although her motto was, "What will people say,"(Que dira la gente?) she continues to live an unconventional life, living and having children with a few men without marrying, though she expects her daughter to stay innocent until marriage. It was the 70's. The other part, that the author hints at, is to live an upscale life. Yet, Ulvi is not rich. He pretends to be at first and the author has to support him for most of the book. She also types his thesis and is abused by him intermittently. There is tension between mother and daughter. There is tension between Ulvi and his pet name for her "Chiquita," (little girl.) She writes that he never sees her as a woman, but a child. He never listens to her. He is from a country where women are dismissed, and the author is often dismissed by him. We continue on her journey through the many characters she meets while following Ulvi around the country. My complaint with the characters is the number of them, and the superficial friendships she narrates. Yes, she ties up the loose ends of all the relationships, but I sense an aloofness in her in most of her relationships (and that includes the lovers she has when Ulvi is away.) I don't at all blame her for living her life. She was 2o plus years younger, and he was, as she calls him toward the end "a philanderer." But she hints at her affairs as much as she hints at Ulvi's unfaithfulness. She reaches many goals and goes to Harvard but is not able to leave her lover. I applaud successes and understand how hard it is to leave a relationship. My problem with the book is that it's overwritten which tends to happy with memoirs. It could have been shorter, maybe a third shorter. Toward the end, she allows herself a bit of self-indulgence, as she goes on and on about her senior project, which actually sounds amazing, but could have been shorter. My biggest problem with the book is that she teases and forebodes many deeds about her lover, but never pays it off at the end. If you start a book with the title, "The Turkish Lover," and hint about his past, his lovers, and his possible cons, the end should tell us what those were. I ended the book with "What?" But a memoirist has a right to tell her truth and to leave what she doesn't want to tell out. But don't set it up to let the reader down. I still enjoyed the book and think it offers a good feeling of what it felt like to be a poor Puerto Rican girl living in the '70s. The author deserves all the accolades she received from her trilogy. I will go back and read the other two.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoyed this last book of Esmeralda Santiago's memoirs, it starts off recapping the first two memoirs and then goes into her relationship with Ulvi and how she selflessly gave so much of herself to a man who in my opinion took advantage of her. I hated how he always took more than he gave in the relationship. My opinion of Ulvi, he's a con artist who would convince people to pay for his expenses, he never seemed to have a job he was always taking classes as an excuse to stay in the United Stat I enjoyed this last book of Esmeralda Santiago's memoirs, it starts off recapping the first two memoirs and then goes into her relationship with Ulvi and how she selflessly gave so much of herself to a man who in my opinion took advantage of her. I hated how he always took more than he gave in the relationship. My opinion of Ulvi, he's a con artist who would convince people to pay for his expenses, he never seemed to have a job he was always taking classes as an excuse to stay in the United States. He expected Esmeralda to hand over her pay check, do his school work, she couldn't have friends, if she had fun and laughed when they went out, he would get pissed, if she spoke to a man he assumed she was cheating on him, she had to be home by 11 to take his calls because he lived in NY and she in Boston, he was a control freak and I don't know how she lasted 7 years with him. I feel like he took her away from her family and friends. He never wanted to visit with her family, that should have been a red flag, it's like he thought that he was better than the Puerto Rican's when in fact he wasn't, he was a very insecure man who had many secrets that Esmeralda wasn't privy to. Even though she traveled to many places with Ulvi and had many different experiences with him, was it worth the loss of so many years with her family? I think he became intimidated by her when she graduated Harvard and saw how many friends she made, that's why I believe he left with out ever contacting her again. Overall I really enjoyed this book even though I didn't agree with many of her choices and how she allowed Ulvi to treat her.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Autumn Schwab

    Picking up right where its predecessor left off, it follows the story of how a young woman, the author Esmeralda Santiago, navigates adulthood. This trilogy takes place in the 1960-70s as Santiago recalls her childhood in Puerto Rico, her move to Brooklyn as a teen, and her journeys as a young woman. This book in particular talks about her struggle/relationship with her Turkish boyfriend Ulvi. It provides a lot of insight into having to alter one's self to fit one's situation. To be completely Picking up right where its predecessor left off, it follows the story of how a young woman, the author Esmeralda Santiago, navigates adulthood. This trilogy takes place in the 1960-70s as Santiago recalls her childhood in Puerto Rico, her move to Brooklyn as a teen, and her journeys as a young woman. This book in particular talks about her struggle/relationship with her Turkish boyfriend Ulvi. It provides a lot of insight into having to alter one's self to fit one's situation. To be completely honest, I only kept reading because I wanted to see what she did with her boyfriend. I believe the author wanted to portray how one changes as they grow into themselves and adulthood, due to Santiago's continuous path of trying to find herself. I enjoyed the first book of her memoir, and the second to a certain extent. This third book, while insightful, is really repetitive. It consisted a lot of her just going back and forth with Ulvi. I gave this book 2 stars because while the story line itself is something to look at, you can truly go with out reading the 3rd book. I believe it would be more interesting to maybe those who've had personal experiences with having to accumulate to a different culture in a different place, as well as those maybe currently going though young adulthood.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elba M

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved and hated this book so much that is very difficult to express. I love Esmeralda Santiago. She is from Puerto Rico like my self. She moved to New York when she was around 13 years old. She had 10 brothers and sisters but Her mother never married the father of her kids. But she was very strict with her kids. And with Esmeralda even more because she was the oldest. And you see all that reflected in her first books. And before I forget, Esmeralda Santiago writes her books in english. Her book I loved and hated this book so much that is very difficult to express. I love Esmeralda Santiago. She is from Puerto Rico like my self. She moved to New York when she was around 13 years old. She had 10 brothers and sisters but Her mother never married the father of her kids. But she was very strict with her kids. And with Esmeralda even more because she was the oldest. And you see all that reflected in her first books. And before I forget, Esmeralda Santiago writes her books in english. Her books always hit home. El amante turco is about her life starting when she was 21 years and she leaves home to be with her lover. He was from Turkey (maybe), always expected her to behave perfectly, and almost never recognized her work. It was like it was her duty. But even though she tried to leave him, she always came back. It was one of the most toxic relationship I had ever read. But, unfortunately many of us had have a relationship similar to that. And after all the times that Esmeralda tried to end the relationship, Urvi was the one that left, because she had changed to much. Please, read this book and all her books, they are fabulous. You read in this book about everything she did and how she accomplished them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leigh

    I loved the whole trilogy of 3 books by Esmeralda Santiago, also including When I Was Puerto Rican and Almost a Woman. This one was somewhat less satisfying than the other two, mainly because it focuses heavily on Santiago's 7-year relationship with a very controlling man, Ulvi Dogan. As in so many abusive (in this case apparently not physically) relationships, one cannot help but wonder "Why did she stay with him for so long?" And, as usual, there were compelling reasons. Reading the details of I loved the whole trilogy of 3 books by Esmeralda Santiago, also including When I Was Puerto Rican and Almost a Woman. This one was somewhat less satisfying than the other two, mainly because it focuses heavily on Santiago's 7-year relationship with a very controlling man, Ulvi Dogan. As in so many abusive (in this case apparently not physically) relationships, one cannot help but wonder "Why did she stay with him for so long?" And, as usual, there were compelling reasons. Reading the details of Santiago's controlled life can get tiresome and make the reader restless. But the book is also about how a young Puerto Rican woman managed to go from life as part of a very humble family, where she was the oldest of 11 children, to Harvard University! That aspect of this book is exhilarating and worthwhile. Actually I experienced this book as an audio book (not a choice in the Goodreads list), and the fact that Santiago reads her own story is a big enhancement.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Francesca

    Well, I honestly didn't note that it was a memoir until I got half way through and thought 'what's wrong with this writer? there's no character development!' And sure enough our author spent years in a relationship that was unhealthy and she had opportunities to move on but didn't. I wondered why she had all of this exhausting detail about life as Chiquita. It didn't seem to add to the story. The only thing I really wanted from this story was resolution on who the Turk really was! Why did he sta Well, I honestly didn't note that it was a memoir until I got half way through and thought 'what's wrong with this writer? there's no character development!' And sure enough our author spent years in a relationship that was unhealthy and she had opportunities to move on but didn't. I wondered why she had all of this exhausting detail about life as Chiquita. It didn't seem to add to the story. The only thing I really wanted from this story was resolution on who the Turk really was! Why did he stay with a 'good girl'? I guess i will write it off to naivete of being young and not knowing any other way to live.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jazmin

    I found Esmeralda Santiago as I researched Hispanic authors in an effort to connect more with my culture. I have read many books, but only one had been Hispanic until I found Santiago. After reading her first two memoirs it was only right that I continue delving into her life with The Turkish Lover. I went through many feelings throughout the book from anger to sadness to pride for all Esmeralda opened up about. I couldn’t put the book down because I could relate to her experience. I only wish t I found Esmeralda Santiago as I researched Hispanic authors in an effort to connect more with my culture. I have read many books, but only one had been Hispanic until I found Santiago. After reading her first two memoirs it was only right that I continue delving into her life with The Turkish Lover. I went through many feelings throughout the book from anger to sadness to pride for all Esmeralda opened up about. I couldn’t put the book down because I could relate to her experience. I only wish there was another memoir to follow!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jason Medina

    It has been a pleasure reading through the memoirs of a fellow Puerto Rican. I have a lot in common with Esmeralda which made it so easy to relate to her. Many of her early experiences are the same or similar to those had by my parents growing up. In this third book of her memoirs, Esmeralda finally grew up and reading about her growth into the amazing woman she would become was both educational and entertaining. Thank you for writing these books, Esmeralda. You have been an inspiration to so ma It has been a pleasure reading through the memoirs of a fellow Puerto Rican. I have a lot in common with Esmeralda which made it so easy to relate to her. Many of her early experiences are the same or similar to those had by my parents growing up. In this third book of her memoirs, Esmeralda finally grew up and reading about her growth into the amazing woman she would become was both educational and entertaining. Thank you for writing these books, Esmeralda. You have been an inspiration to so many.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Barbie Crumpler

    honest, shocking, and completely gripping... I absolutely did not expect Santiago’s memoir to take this unpredictable turn. There were moments I wanted to cry for her and moments I wanted to shake her and tell her to get a grip. This is the kind of book that infuriates and frustrates you in the best way possible. The first memoir she wrote is still my favorite, but this one is incredible in different ways. I pray that she writes a fourth book and highly recommend this one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Barbikat60

    Freed Why do some men try to crush the very thing that attracts them to some women? Why do women give up all that is powerful about us just because some dude has the talent to abuse the power of love (or lust)? I can't answer that because I have been in too many relationships where men belittled me and controlled me. I'm glad Ms. Santiago broke free of her prison. Freed Why do some men try to crush the very thing that attracts them to some women? Why do women give up all that is powerful about us just because some dude has the talent to abuse the power of love (or lust)? I can't answer that because I have been in too many relationships where men belittled me and controlled me. I'm glad Ms. Santiago broke free of her prison.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rhianna

    This resonated with me in the best possible way. I see myself through this journey as I'm reading, I felt a roller coaster of emotions; anger, sadness, hope, and love. I will always remember the lessons in this book, to stay true to yourself and that no matter what you are loved and valued. Thank you Esmeralda This resonated with me in the best possible way. I see myself through this journey as I'm reading, I felt a roller coaster of emotions; anger, sadness, hope, and love. I will always remember the lessons in this book, to stay true to yourself and that no matter what you are loved and valued. Thank you Esmeralda

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gustavo Gil

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. She opened her hearth and mind to write a memoir of part of her life. Two lives crossed, she from Puerto Rico and Ulvi from Turkey, and living in USA. She gave support to him, but unfortunately he was a person who takes adavantage of people surronding him.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Bex

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I found this one harder to get through than the others due to the emotional abuse, manipulation, and gaslighting by the title character. But it did eventually get to Santiago finding (or starting to find) herself which was good.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sandy Dennis

    Third book in When I Was Puerto Rican series. I was so ready for Esmeralda to ditch the Turkish lover- seemed to take forever, but she finally made some great life choices.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vera Gonzalez

    Loved it!!! Sad when I finished.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    The Turkish Lover (Hardcover) by Esmeralda Santiago (Goodreads Author)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maritza Garcia-Hernandez

    After reading When I Was Puerto Rican and Almost a Woman I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Esmeralda. Her mother and Grandmother where strong women but very misleading in there relationships with men. She did the only thing she knew how to do that is emulate what she saw her mother do. What I love about Esmeralda is that she knew somewhere deep inside her that she was not just a product of her environment. Her desire to continue her education no matter where she was is a true testament to the s After reading When I Was Puerto Rican and Almost a Woman I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Esmeralda. Her mother and Grandmother where strong women but very misleading in there relationships with men. She did the only thing she knew how to do that is emulate what she saw her mother do. What I love about Esmeralda is that she knew somewhere deep inside her that she was not just a product of her environment. Her desire to continue her education no matter where she was is a true testament to the strength and survival skills she learned from her mother. I absolutely love how proud Esmeralda is with her Puerto Rican heritage. Reading her books I came to understand how truly Puerto Rican I am even if I was born in the States. I can relate to so many things she writes about but more importantly I now can empathize with my mother’s story of when she came to New Jersey. I want to know so much more about not only her life but all of her siblings lives too. I can only hope she writes another book about her family.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ursula Shelton

    So far the book is very interesting as most books are on male/female relationships. We have a young Puerto Rican women and a man seventeen years her senior. Esmeralda leaves her family in Brooklyn to follow her Turkish lover, Ulvi to Florida. Things go well until his colleagues find out he's a fraud and cuts off the financial support. Esmeralda continues to support Ulvi by working odd jobs. He is always in control of the finances. In spite of a few separations she continues to see him. Eventuall So far the book is very interesting as most books are on male/female relationships. We have a young Puerto Rican women and a man seventeen years her senior. Esmeralda leaves her family in Brooklyn to follow her Turkish lover, Ulvi to Florida. Things go well until his colleagues find out he's a fraud and cuts off the financial support. Esmeralda continues to support Ulvi by working odd jobs. He is always in control of the finances. In spite of a few separations she continues to see him. Eventually she finds the courage to allow him to walk out of her life. I was excited for her, it should have happened a long time ago. This is a great book, I would recommend it to friends and associates.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Whiteford

    Well written and evocative, and especially gripping towards the end when the author starts to break away from her controlling partner and begins to make a life for herself. I know this is just one volume in the series of memoirs that Santiago is writing, but some of the loose ends in the narrative drove me nuts. For instance, her beloved cousin disappears and "I would not hear from her again until 25 years later." but the book ends before those 25 years have passed, so the reader is never aware Well written and evocative, and especially gripping towards the end when the author starts to break away from her controlling partner and begins to make a life for herself. I know this is just one volume in the series of memoirs that Santiago is writing, but some of the loose ends in the narrative drove me nuts. For instance, her beloved cousin disappears and "I would not hear from her again until 25 years later." but the book ends before those 25 years have passed, so the reader is never aware of what happened. All in all a good book and I'd like to read her earlier memoirs, too.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Haider

    The Turkish Lover is Santiago's 3rd memoir and it picks up where Almost a Woman left off. In this memoir, Santiago tells of her experiences of leaving the shelter of her mother's home and moving away with her older Turkish lover. Her life with her Turkish lover is full of loneliness and estrangement. He takes total control of her life and tries to keep her as the innocent young girl that he first met. I didn't enjoy this memoir quite as much as I liked her first two. The Turkish Lover is Santiago's 3rd memoir and it picks up where Almost a Woman left off. In this memoir, Santiago tells of her experiences of leaving the shelter of her mother's home and moving away with her older Turkish lover. Her life with her Turkish lover is full of loneliness and estrangement. He takes total control of her life and tries to keep her as the innocent young girl that he first met. I didn't enjoy this memoir quite as much as I liked her first two.

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