Michelle Kung
March 05, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

The daughter of a doctor and a lawyer on an island of coffee growers and sugarcane farmers, young Luisita grew up a veritable princesita in 1950s Puerto Rico. Pampered by maids, she and her five siblings never realized that life could be better elsewhere. As the adult Torregrosa recounts in her touching memoir, though, the sandy shores of her youth harbored a culture that insisted its women make motherhood their primary careers — an unfathomable fate for a future ”New York Times” editor. But in a series of lyrical anecdotes, she recalls succumbing to ”sudden longings” for home.

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