Prof. Jessica Penner | OL05 | Fall 2020

Mamadou Diallo, Formal Critique of Gurba’s Work


Creative Writing

Formal Critique

Reviewer’s Name:  Mamadou Diallo

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

Author’s Name: Myriam Gurba


How else was Gurba criticized for the way she reviewed Dirt?

Point of View

The point of view of this piece is first person and I like just how much the author gives us her perspective of things throughout the story. It is also clear that the book that the author reviewed failed to show the point of view of the people it was trying to represent and the author gave clear examples of that. 

Setting & Context

The setting and context of the story isn’t really something with a lot of emphasis but regardless it fits well in as the author puts more focus in the events that occur rather than the background to them.

Voice & Style

I can’t say I often enjoy reading pieces for class. Even stories that I end up liking are mostly because I have my own very wrong interpretation of the tone the piece carries and use that to get enjoyment. The voice and style of this piece are amazing though. Her unrelenting straightforwardness is something that I found enjoyable and even humorous at times. 

What made her write in that straight forward style?


I like the use of Spanglish in the piece as it gives it a very personal feel to it that people who are bilingual, even if their other language is not spanish, can relate to. One other thing I like is the lack of dialogue in specific scenes. The one that I’m talking about in particular is when the author walked in on her roommate wearing her clothes and she did not say anything and the two of them never spoke of that event again. 

Why did the author choose to write in spanglish?


  1. Jozelyn

    With your question regarding the plot, maybe she got criticized for her review on Dirt because she was Mexican herself. They probably claimed that her review was too personal. I agree with your statement in the point of view, how the author shared her perspective of “Dirt” and a little bit about the overall stereotypes of Mexicans. She did this in a way where you can clearly see the way she thinks but she not once made it feel like she was forcing her point of view on her readers. Also, I do agree with the spanglish aspect as it made the piece even more personalized. What do you mean about getting the wrong interpretation of pieces and that you use it for your own enjoyment?

  2. Adama Barro

    Hello, Mamadou Diallo i totally agree with you on how Myriam Gurba use Spanish to describe certain words ,that show she is very proud of her heritage and she is also promoting her language.
    I did not understand your plot, and also when say ” I have my own very wrong interpretation of the tone “

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