Thirteen-year-old Serena is torn from everything that’s familiar on her island home. She leaves her beloved grandmother, her father, and two of her siblings to move with her mother and older sister to Florida, and then to California.
“Everything will be better in America”, her mother tells her. They arrive in the US to find nothing as expected. Speaking Dutch, Spanish, and Papiamentu (the native language of Curazçao) but limited English, Serena learns to pretend that everything’s fine while struggling to live up to her mother’s impossibly high expectations; always afraid to send her mother into another downward spiral of dark depression. Serena juggles responsibility for her mother’s well-being with school, a secret boyfriend, and a growing desire for independence. But the streets of Hollywood hold many dangers for young girls.
The wisdom of her grandmother, a mixed-race mystic, gives her solace, which she clings to tenaciously, despite the thousands of miles between them. Coming of age in a foreign land, faced with enormous obstacles, Serena finds her own two feet and the acceptance that sets her free.
The House of Six Doors by Patricia Selbert is a coming of age story, which delves into the struggles of a family newly emigrated to the United States of America in the 70s and their struggles to make a home for themselves in this new country so very different from their beloved home in Curaçao. Selbert deftly writes about Curaçao and gives the reader a sense of being on the island while fluidly transitioning between this island setting and Los Angeles, as seen through the eyes of Serena. While Mama is a character I believe many would very much like to dislike, I tried to view life through her eyes and the struggles she faced on a daily basis with two daughters to raise in a new country, new cultural standards and biases, and no money. I truly enjoyed learning more about Curaçao and its culture, the struggles the family faced, as émigrés are heart breaking and yet uplifting with the offer of hope. Serena is sweet and her grandmother’s words help guide her through difficult times. The House of Six Doors draws the reader into a whole new world and shows the reader what the United States of America looks like through the eyes of a teenager who did not want to emigrate from her home country, the lessons she learns and the struggles she faces along the way. Selbert takes on many big issues and blends them together exceedingly well to create a very endearing and inspiring story. I would recommend The House of Six Doors to any reader looking for a beautiful story to be swept up into for a few hours.
About the Author:
Author Patricia Selbert is an experienced lecturer and multicultural novelist. With a BA in communications Patricia speaks Dutch, Spanish, Papiamentu and English. “I was born to Dutch parents in the jungles of Venezuela. I grew up in Curaçao, a Dutch island in the Caribbean. I moved to the United States in the seventies. I currently live in Santa Barbara, a picturesque town on the Central Coast of California cradled between the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Santa Ynez Mountains to the north.” Patricia’s Caribbean heritage has infused her with a passion for bright colors, delicious flavors, and the sea.
I received a complimentary copy of The House of Six Doors by Patricia Selbert from BookSparks PR to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.