The Time it Snowed in Puerto Rico by Sarah McCoy
This novel begins in 1961, and Verdita, the main character is starting to strain against the realities of her small mountain town in Puerto Rico. She is 11 and not yet a seniorita, but at the same time, Verdita feels very much like she is growing up and needs a degree of freedom and change she cannot find where she is. The most oppressive figure in Verdita’s life is her mother, not for her mother’s actions, but for what she represents. Unlike Verdita’s father, her mother speaks no English, and is more than content in their small town, wanting nothing more than to be with her family. Verdita, by contrast, longs for the excitement of San Juan or, better yet, America. In truth, Verdita dreams of America, especially after interacting with her cousin who moved there and his American friend, back in Puerto Rico for a visit.
This book is ripe with the lush island’s landscape, culture, and foods, as well as the political upheaval of the 1960s. Verdita’s experience, though, is universal, as she must reconcile both the passion she witnesses and the changes in her own body with a child’s perspective of the world.
Sarah was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky, the daughter of an Army officer from Oklahoma and a Puerto Rican elementary school teacher. She applied to an MFA program at Old Dominion University and was accepted.
The Time It Snowed In Puerto Rico is Sarah’s first novel.