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MITReads: A Cup of Water Under My Bed: Home

For MITReads' Fall 2019 selection, Daisy Hernández's A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir

“The bravest phrase a woman can say is 'I don’t know.'”

- Daisy Hernández, A Cup of Water Under My Bed


In this lyrical, coming-of-age memoir, Daisy Hernández chronicles what the women in her Cuban-Colombian family taught her about love, money, and race. Her mother warns her about envidia and men who seduce you with pastries, while one tía bemoans that her niece is turning out to be “una india” instead of an American. 

In prose that is both memoir and commentary, Daisy reflects on reporting for the New York Times as the paper is rocked by the biggest plagiarism scandal in its history and plunged into debates about the role of race in the newsroom.

A heartfelt exploration of family, identity, and language,  A Cup of Water Under My Bed is ultimately a daughter’s story of finding herself and her community, and of creating a new, queer life.

Discussion Prompts

  • Hernández writes early on in her memoir that "Nothing is more vulnerable than the words in our mouths, because nothing has more power" (xii). What does she mean by this? How does she demonstrate the power and vulnerability of language throughout the book?

a cup of water under my bed book cover