One of the things that surprised me the most was his awareness, as a child, of a world that was public and a world that was private, and of the immense sense of loss he felt when his parents ceased speaking to him in Spanish all together. Or perhaps what surprised me was his reaction to that loss as he reflects back in the memoir. He says that as painful as it was, he did need to learn to communicate in a public manner. There's still that anxiety and hurt that comes from interactions with other family members, and their near scornful reaction when they find he's lost his Spanish fluency, but he also has more confidence and comes to see himself as belonging more and more to something like an American public identity.
I must confess I am a white, Anglo-Saxon protestant male in a family with a college educated mother and father and two siblings, so we are in many respects the portrait of the nuclear family, but I do from time to time see some conflict between my private, family life and my public one. For instance my family is very close, and particularly my siblings and I are very openly affectionate and supportive of one another, in ways that have often led people to comment. Generally speaking I've found that those who comment admire the bonds we share, but there have been those who see that bond as unnatural and believe our public image should be one of rivalry.