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Grand Central Publishing

First Gen: A Memoir by Alejandra Campoverdi (Hardcover)

First Gen: A Memoir by Alejandra Campoverdi (Hardcover)

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Nonfiction - Biography & Autobiography - Memoir


From former White House aide to President Obama and Harvard graduate, Alejandra Campoverdi, comes a riveting and unflinching memoir on navigating social mobility as a first gen Latina, offering a broad examination of the unacknowledged emotional tolls of being a trailblazer.
To be a First and Only in America is a delicate balancing act of surviving where you come from while acting like you belong where you’re going.

Alejandra Campoverdi has been a child on welfare, a White House aide to President Obama, a gang member’s girlfriend, and a candidate for U.S. Congress. She’s ridden on Air Force One and in G-rides. She’s modeled on the pages of Maxim and had a double mastectomy. Living a life of contradictory extremes often comes with the territory when you’re a “First and Only.” It also comes at a price. 
With candor and heart, Alejandra retraces her trajectory as a Mexican American woman raised by an immigrant single mother in Los Angeles, foregoing the tidy bullet points of her resume and shining a light on the spaces between them instead. What emerges is a moving testimony of personal struggle and triumph that shatters the one-dimensional glossy narrative we are often sold of what it takes to achieve the American Dream. Alejandra uses her own experiences to illustrate the emotional tolls First and Onlys often face that are widespread yet rarely acknowledged, providing a road to truth and healing in the process. It is a timely and revealing reflection, as social class continues to be a key determinant of career success.
Part memoir, part manifesto, FIRST GEN is a story of generational inheritance, aspiration, and belonging - a poignant journey to “reclaim the parts of ourselves we sacrificed in order to survive.”


Alejandra Campoverdi is a nationally-recognized women's health advocate, founder, producer, writer, and a former Obama White House official. She produced the PBS health documentary Inheritance, founded Latinos & BRCA in partnership with Penn Medicine's Basser Center, and served as White House Deputy Director of Hispanic Media. Alejandra holds a Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and graduated cum laude from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. She currently serves on the boards of Harvard's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, and the California Community Foundation, and previously received a gubernatorial appointment to the Medical Board of California and was a Commissioner for First 5 California

“FIRST GEN is a luminous achievement, one of the most moving debuts in memory… Campoverdi transforms the furies, hypocrisies and disappointments of the American dream into a survivor’s song of surpassing poignancy… this is literary love medicine, a book you will not soon forget.”—Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of New York Times bestsellers The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This is How You Lose Her
"Alejandra is the definitive voice for first generation young people who maintain their heritage while achieving their ambitions."—Norma Kamali, Fashion Icon and Designer
“Alejandra Campoverdi, with piercing insight and unflinching candor, has written a book for our times––capturing the American dream as experienced by immigrants and their children who are remaking America. Her story may be one-of-a-kind, but the lessons she learned and imparts are universal.”—Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of national bestseller Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen
“FIRST GEN captures the emotional and physical agility required to break generational glass ceilings. Alejandra’s captivating memoir reminds us to be bold and brave on race relations be it in the boardroom or the Oval Office.”—Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and President of Ariel Investments
"This is a beautiful and powerful book. But, more than anything, it is a truthful one. Campoverdi's life is, in a way, a reflection of everybody's dream in America. She could have told us about all she has achieved—and then suggest that, if she did it, you can too. Instead, courageously, she tells us how difficult it was: that there is a price to be paid when you are the 'First and Only'.”—Jorge Ramos, Emmy award-winning Senior Anchor of Univision News and bestselling author of The Latino Wave
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