My Broken Language is the Philadelphia Free Library's One Book, One Philadelphia reading and discussion book choice for 2022.
Quiara Alegría Hudes was the sharp-eyed girl on the stairs while her family danced their defiance in a tight North Philly kitchen. She was awed by her mother and aunts and cousins, but haunted by the unspoken, untold stories of the barrio--even as she tried to find her own voice in the sea of language around her, written and spoken, English and Spanish, bodies and books, Western art and sacred altars. Her family became her private pantheon, a gathering circle of powerful orisha-like women with tragic real-world wounds, and she vowed to tell their stories--but first she'd have to get off the stairs and join the dance. She'd have to find her language.
Weaving together Hudes's love of music with the songs of her family, the lessons of North Philly with those of Yale, this is a multimythic dive into home, memory, and belonging--narrated by an obsessed girl who fought to become an artist so she could capture the world she loved in all its wild and delicate beauty.
317 pages. Softcover.
About the Author
Quiara Alegría Hudes is the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Water by the Spoonful and the author of a memoir, My Broken Language. She wrote the book for the Tony-winning Broadway musical In the Heights and later adapted it for the screen. Her notable essays include "High Tide of Heartbreak" in American Theatre magazine and "Corey Couldn't Take It Anymore" in The Cut. As a prison reform activist, Hudes and her cousin founded Emancipated Stories, a platform where people behind bars can share one page of their life story with the world. She lives with her family in New York but frequently returns to her native Philly.