Published in 2010, Vida is a collection of short stories that were written by Patricia Engel. The stories are narrated in first person, and the danger of anecdotal fiction is the lack of interesting descriptions and emotional involvement for the reader. However, Engel’s Vida is the complete opposite. The narrator, Sabina, is a young Colombian who has moved to New Jersey with her family.
The nine stories in Vida are told in a flashback by Sabina, who is now older. Her stories are a simple and realistic portrayal of her youth and adolescence in America, when she and her family were foreigners and shunned in a town of whites, as well as times when she was trying to find love with a group of acquaintances. The reader can easily relate to Sabina when she is talking about crushes and the different relationships that exist in school and elsewhere, or when she puts her own perspective on real things that happen in real life, such as 9/11. The simple sentences that are laced with relatable and realistic emotions make Vida a remarkable work.