Booklist Review: A Cup of Water Under My Bed

“Journalist, feminist, and first-time memoirist Hernández presents a coming-of-age story that dives into the complexities of language, sexuality, and class. From English lessons at her Catholic school in New Jersey to Spanish lessons at Instituto Cervantes in Manhattan, Hernández renders in picture-perfect detail the somber habits of her schoolteacher nuns, her Cuban father’s persistent drinking, and her Colombian mother’s opinionated sisters…Like her mother, Hernández finds herself drawn to new destinations and, as she gains exposure to women’s studies and queer communities, begins to evaluate her own sexual orientation. Her writing is at its finest when Hernández defuses awkward tension with humor, as when she considers using Frida Kahlo’s famous painting, The Two Fridas, to explain lesbian relationships. She maintains a lively pace by flashing back-and-forth between childhood and adulthood, personal and professional lives, with an emphasis on her ascent from New York Times intern to regular columnist at Ms. An accessible, honest look at the often heart-wrenching effects of intergenerational tension on family ties.” — Diego Báez