Prof. Jessica Penner | OL05 | Fall 2020

Amna Ahmed, Gurba Formal Critique


Creative Writing

Formal Critique

Reviewer’s Name: Amna Ahmed      

 Title of Piece: Pendeja, You Ain’t Steinbeck: My Bronca with Fake-Ass Social Justice Literature

Author’s Name: Myriam Gurba

Plot: In Gurba’s piece “Pendeja, You Ain’t Slick: My Bronca with Fake-Ass Social Justice Literature”, she writes about her extreme distaste about Jeanine Cummins’s book “American Dirt”. She states that the book is full of Mexican stereotypes, written about Mexican realities from the pint of view of a white women.

Question: What would have you written about to showcase the realities of Mexico?

Voice & Style: I really enjoyed the author’s sarcastic, critical, and satirical tone. Not only did it make Gurba’s work more interesting, but it also gave me some insight to who Gurba is as a person.

Question: Do you find using a sarcastic and critical tone is best when critiquing a fellow author’s work?

Point of View: Gurba wrote from her point of view, which illustrates her personality to showcase her range of emotions when facing cultural ignorance.

Question: Would Gurba be interested in writing about other Mexican’s perspective on “American Dirt?

Characters: Gurba mostly wrote about herself critiquing “American Dirt”, however, she did mention her grandfather in the beginning of her work. Gurba, mentioned that her grandfather was a Mexican publicist and that both he and her shared a common trait of being cocky.

Question: Would your grandfather agree with your critique of “American Dirt”?


  1. Jozelyn

    Yes! I agree about the voice and style of her work. It was fearless, unapologetic and honest, which does show the person she is like you said. It would be interesting if she wrote a piece addressing Cummin’s work but I feel like that wold put her in a category on how the “Americans” already view the Mexicans. I think another important character is the editor who asked her to review “Dirt,” because although the editor enjoyed Gurba’s review she was asked to change it. Due to the fact that she did not have much “fame,” her review was too negative and needed to be more positive. This plays an important role because Gurba stayed true to her word and released it on her own time.

  2. Adama Barro

    Hi Amna Ahmed , I share your point of view on Myriam Gurba work, she is fighting for social injustice and racism.
    She is very determine to openly and publicly crises the book American Dirt and especially the author Cummins,
    Do you think she could have use a different approach to criticize Cummins or you agree with her method ?

  3. Angelica Salazar

    Hi Amna, I enjoyed reading your critique. I agree with you in the fact that I liked how Gurba’s choice in words were sarcastic, critical, and humorous it made it better to read and understand where she is coming from.

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