Fish Out Of Agua:
My Life On Neither Side Of The (Subway) Tracks

A voice blared from the loudspeaker at the Puerto Rican Day parade. "Will the family who brought the little redheaded white girl please come to the bandstand to pick her up?" I looked around. Wait a minute. I am at the bandstand. I am that lost girl!

Michele Carlo, a redheaded freckle-faced Puerto Rican raised in an Italian/Irish section of The Bronx, grew up as a double outsider. Too white for her proud Spanish-speaking relatives and a mystery to her schoolmates, Michele braved a search for identity that was a long, rough-and-tumble ride.

By turns heartbreaking and humorous, she recalls the family calamities, fumblings of growing up and all the people and events who shaped her. From the "playground battlefield" in the not so wholesome summer of '69, to graffiti-filled afternoons and high school race riots in the '70s to art school in the new wave '80s and her emergence as an artist with a unique and alluring voice, Michele's story is an homage to New York City...and an iconically American, unforgettable portrait of growing up.

Available at these stores: QED Astoria, Word Up Community Bookshop, Bronx Museum

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NEW! Starting Tuesday, November 15: Catch "Fish Out of Agua" every week, as part of Season 4 of Radio Free Brooklyn!


"Poignant, funny and authentic. Michele Carlo writes about a lost New York with a cinematic eye, a keen ear, and a huge heart."
--Janice Erlbaum, author of Girlbomb and Have You Found Her

"Michele's humor, heart—and every sweet and razor-sharp note of her writing—reach far beyond the edges of this island."
Dan Kennedy, author of Rock On and Loser Goes First

"Warm and insightful...Michele's take on life as a Latina is the most original I have ever seen."
Linda Nieves Powell, author of Free Style

"Michele Carlo's writing...always seems equally capable of either blossoming into utopia or spiraling into apocalypse."
Patrick William Gallagher, editor Animal Farm; former managing editor of Mr. Beller's Neighborhood

"Michele's stories are completely original, yet she tells them in a way that makes them completely relatable to anyone. 
I am a fan—and if you read her work—you soon will be too."

Catherine Burns, artistic director of The MOTH