The Book of the Week is “Rita Moreno, A Memoir” by Rita Moreno, published in 2014.
The author was originally from Juncos, Puerto Rico. She and her mother, without her father and younger brother, came to America in 1936, when she was five. It was traumatic for her to be uprooted from a tropical paradise to her aunt’s overpopulated, freezing, dirty Bronx tenement with its vermin and noisy steam heat radiator, the noisy el train nearby, and Irish and Anglo gangs roaming the neighborhood.
Moreno had a high-pressure mother who recognized and nurtured her talent by enrolling her for Spanish dancing lessons when she was six. She was performing in a range of genres the rest of her life.
Read the book to learn Moreno’s life history– the discrimination against her for her ethnicity, the awards she won that reflected her genre versatility, her lovers, and what led her to attempt suicide, among other details.