“If I could fly” by Judith Ortiz Cofer

Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011

Doris’ parents are unlike anyone else’s in her barrio. They are salseros, as her father manages two bands, and her mother is a singer in one of them. Every night they have a gig, and Doris is left on her own. She feels neglected and lonely, spending her time taking care of pigeons on her roof. While caring for them and watching them fly, she imagines what it would be like to fly away from her life and begin a new one.

Since she’s been told she has facultades, she wonders if her life can be spent as a fortune teller. However, since she has a good voice, maybe she should be a cantante like her mother. Her feelings of loneliness increase when her mother moves back to Puerto Rico and her father finds a girlfriend. Months later, she finds out her mother has a heart condition, so she decides to go to Puerto Rico to help her mom get better.

Through her barrio experiences as well as her time in Puerto Rico, Doris discovers that having wings to fly can mean more than flying away; it can mean to fly towards something too.

Good for Middle School and early High Schoolers too.


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