in the heights book errors

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in the heights book errors#1
Posted: 12/16/08 at 11:04pm
Hey all- I have recently heard from alot of people that In the Heights struggles with a ton of book errors. I, personally have never seen the show.. and having heard only some of the music, it is difficult to pick up on book errors. Does anyone know what specific errors they are talking about?
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re: in the heights book errors#2
Posted: 12/16/08 at 11:25pm
I could be wrong, but I don't think there's necessarily any ERRORS in the book. What I think a lot of people complain about is that the book is rather weak. Though I personally felt a connection to the characters, the book does nothing to build them or elevate them beyond the basic role (smart girl with a secret, boy from other side of life, streetwise smart alec cousin, salon-owner with sass, etc.). But all this being said, I don't think these constitute actual errors, as much as it just being an all-too-common case of a good score, weak book (and anyone can use the search feature to find a plethora of threads on that particular topic).
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re: in the heights book errors#2
Posted: 12/16/08 at 11:43pm
Well said, mormonophobic.
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re: in the heights book errors#3
Posted: 12/17/08 at 12:41am
Yep, that's what most critics (and "critics") have/had problems with.
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re: in the heights book errors#4
Posted: 12/17/08 at 1:04am
Washington Heights was Jewish and Greek before it became Cuban. The show implies that the Irish where there last. Is that what you mean?
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re: in the heights book errors#5
Posted: 12/17/08 at 1:19am
I love ITH's score to death, but the book has a lot of holes. To name a few:

- If Nina's parents knew she was at Benny's, why didn't they go over there if they were so worried about her?
- Why doesn't Nina just go to a cheaper university? Why does she have to attend one of the most expensive ones in the nation?
- How is Nina not just back at where she used to be now, where she'll be too busy working to study because she has to be able to afford books + other expenses?
- Plus, her parents only have one company to sell. How are they going to cover four years of tuition, plus books, plus room and board?
- How is Vanessa able to cut hair when she's only 19 years old?

Please note that I analyze things to death, though. re: in the heights book errors
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re: in the heights book errors#6
Posted: 12/17/08 at 3:10am
These seem like nitpickings rather than actual concerns about the plot.

- If Nina's parents knew she was at Benny's, why didn't they go over there if they were so worried about her?

Nothing in the book/show indicates that they knew Nina was at Benny's before she showed up with him that day. In fact, they're actually surprised when they see Benny is with Nina.

- Why doesn't Nina just go to a cheaper university? Why does she have to attend one of the most expensive ones in the nation?

Because she wanted the best possible education for her, and the best schools are usually the most expensive. If people from lower economic social backgrounds only limited themselves to "cheap" universities, then how would we EVER solve the terrible social inequity in the US? The best education shouldn't be available to people with lower incomes? Nina got a scholarship which allowed her to go to Stanford. It may not have covered everything (which, btw, her parents didn't seem to know, so it seems like she only found out the scholarship wouldn't cover everything until AFTER she got there), and at the end her family DID find a way to ensure she could finish her 4 years. So, what? She should've settled for a lesser education? I've known plenty of people who came from poor backgrounds who, though hard work, won scholarships to good schools, only to find that the cost of living there makes it very difficult to actually finish their studies. Say what you will about the show, but Nina's situation is not unrealistic, it's something that happens to a LOT of people, and I love that ITH addresses it, cause a lot of people take these sorts of things for granted.

- How is Nina not just back at where she used to be now, where she'll be too busy working to study because she has to be able to afford books + other expenses?

I have no idea what you mean by this. Do you mean that at the end she's back at the same place she was before because she'll still need to work to have enough money for books, etc? It is implied in the show that the selling of the business is to cover tuition AND the cost of living/books, so Nina will only have to work one job instead of 2.

- Plus, her parents only have one company to sell. How are they going to cover four years of tuition, plus books, plus room and board?

I assume they owned the building. Real estate in W.H. is getting higher (one of the recurring complaints), and it's always expensive in NYC. 4 Year tuition at Stanford is around $144,000, and it's not unreasonable to assume they'd get over that amount for selling the business.

- How is Vanessa able to cut hair when she's only 19 years old?

She works at the salon. I could be wrong, but I don't think it's ever said what her job is, nor is her age ever explicitly mentioned in the show itself (I know supplementary materials have said she's 19, but because it's not in the actual show, she could very well be any other age). But even if we assume she is 19, she could be a hairdressing apprentice. Besides, we know she has a fake id cause she was purchase champagne, so maybe she has a fake hairdressing license, too.


What I want to know is, what's the deal with Sonny? Seriously. Who does he live with? He's 15 or 16. If he lives with his own parents, then why does Abuela give part of the money to him? She's not related to him by blood, and seems to have a stronger bond with Nina, so why Sonny? If he has parents, seems like Abuela wouldn't need to give Sonny any money. It seems like she raised him, right? But if he does lives with Abuela and Usnavi, and she did raise him a. why do Abuela and Usnavi talk about leaving together in Hundreds of Stories with no mention of Sonny, and b. why does Usnavi just plant to leave, with no regards to what'll happen to Sonny? Wouldn't Usnavi now be Sonny's guardian?

And I'm not entirely clear on Usnavi's plan at the end. Was he going on a vacation, or was he moving to DR? Seems like it had to be moving for the dramatic impact of his decision at the end to make sense. But how did he purchase plane tickets during a blackout? And, more importantly, why would he leave the day after Abuela died? They couldn't POSSIBLY have buried her already, and even if they somehow miraculously had, there is no WAY Usnavi can just pack all his sh*t in less than a day. You'd think Usnavi would be like "ok, I'll wait a week, and THEN leave". But no, brother's just leaving the next day. Cold hearted s.o.b.

I'll shut up now.
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re: in the heights book errors#7
Posted: 12/17/08 at 7:30am
What is the name of the book and who is the author? I have been looking to order it and can't find it.
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re: in the heights book errors#8
Posted: 12/17/08 at 7:58am
I agree with you about the college thing, BroadwayChica. And since it is never mentioned on how Vanessa works at the salon, we really don't know much about her background in that sense. I know there are some high schools that do have programs like cosmetology, which is where she could have learned and gotten her license. You just have to go to a technical school for this, which does count as a real high school education, but it focuses a little more on getting students ready for work, and not college.
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re: in the heights book errors#9
Posted: 12/17/08 at 9:51am
Besides, we know she has a fake id cause she was purchase champagne, so maybe she has a fake hairdressing license, too.

lol *this* is my favorite.

ps: re Sonny. I've explained it in my head that he's living with Abuela only for the summer, but he does actually have parents. Makes him close enough family for her to leave him some of the money, but that way Usnavi's not his guardian... still doesn't explain Usnavi leaving a teenage slacker like Sonny in charge of the bodega when heading to the club, though. :)
Updated On: 12/17/08 at 09:51 AM
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re: in the heights book errors#10
Posted: 12/17/08 at 10:12am
"She works at the salon. I could be wrong, but I don't think it's ever said what her job is"

In "It Won't Be Long Now", she says "as i cut their hair ladies talk and share..."

So I think we can safely say she cuts hair at the salon. And I agree with you about the college thing as well BroadwayChica.
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re: in the heights book errors#11
Posted: 12/17/08 at 1:41pm
Where is it ever said that she is 19?
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re: in the heights book errors#12
Posted: 12/17/08 at 1:50pm
"But no, brother's just leaving the next day. Cold hearted s.o.b."

Ha! I had a very similar thought when I first found this show, so that struck me as VERY funny.
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re: in the heights book errors#13
Posted: 12/17/08 at 1:57pm
Where is it ever said that she is 19?

In the supplemental materials it says that Vanessa is 19, it's not spelled out in the show (although I always thought it was inferred that Vanessa and Nina were the same age/ same year in school)...
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re: in the heights book errors#14
Posted: 12/17/08 at 2:02pm
A little research reveals that it is possible to get into beauty school at 17...
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re: in the heights book errors#15
Posted: 12/17/08 at 2:32pm
I am a nitpicker--it's what I do best. re: in the heights book errors

BroadwayChica: I'm not saying that she should settle, but there are good colleges that are much cheaper. Also, I don't know how Stanford's going to help her when she's too busy working to study. Grad schools and employers care more about GPA than anything.

I thought it implies that her parents knew that she was at Benny's. Oh well.

For Vanessa to have attended beauty school at 17, she would have had to drop out of high school. Also, I'm not sure where she would have gotten the money.
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re: in the heights book errors#16
Posted: 12/17/08 at 3:29pm
perhaps the movie will answer all of your lingering questions.

According to those stage notes, they describe Daniela as being in her 30s - in "Everything I Know", Nina sings "In this album, there's a picture of the ladies at Daniela's, you can tell it's from the 80s, by the volume of their hair..there's Usnavi, just a baby...". So if Daniela could own a salon in her late teens - then it doesnt seem odd that Vanessa is cutting hair at 19.

The real question is if Lin-Manuel is Puerto Rican from both parents, why is he singing about going back to Dominican Republic? (I'm Puerto Rican, just had to toss that in) :)

Updated On: 12/17/08 at 03:29 PM
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re: in the heights book errors#17
Posted: 12/17/08 at 3:42pm
Because his character is Dominican. Is that really a difficult concept? Lin-Manuel wrote the show, but that doesn't mean it's autobiographical. Lin didn't even grow up in Washington Heights. (He grew up in Inwood, the neighborhood north of the Heights.)
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Updated On: 12/17/08 at 03:42 PM
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re: in the heights book errors#18
Posted: 12/17/08 at 3:57pm
I kinda love this thread.

If you wanna get nitpickey...
- why is Nina returning home from school in *July*? Wouldn't the school year have ended at the end of May/start of June? (Yes we know she wasn't actually at school, but she could have stopped faking it like six weeks earlier.) And if she has no money why is she flying home on a holiday weekend, when prices are up.
- would Kevin's bank even have been *open* on the 3rd of July, for him to be able to sell his building?
- In Everything I Know, that photo of the ladies at Daniela's, where you can tell it's from the 80s? What, did Daniela open Daniela's when she was 15 years old or something?

I know I had others, will have to remember them...
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re: in the heights book errors#19
Posted: 12/17/08 at 4:06pm
I kinda love this thread

Me too.


If we want to get extra picky, who's to say that Daniela owned the salon when that picture was taken? She could've started working there in here late teens (like Vanessa) and then bought it. Just because Nina associates the salon with Daniela, it doesn't mean it was ALWAYS hers.


And I imagien Nina could've had money since she hadn't actually been paying for school at the time she flew home. And she was supposed to be working two jobs.
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re: in the heights book errors#20
Posted: 12/17/08 at 4:09pm
Perhaps the 3 AM flight was cheaper....

Maybe Nina was busy working through May and June to pay for some of her student debt...and told her parents she was taking an extra class?

Haha I'm glad I'm not the only one who has analyzed this to death!
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re: in the heights book errors#21
Posted: 12/17/08 at 4:17pm
OMG, I'm not alone! re: in the heights book errors

I've also wondered why Nina didn't go back home until July! I thought maybe she was working and had told her parents she was taking a summer course. Or maybe she was delaying coming home because she didn't want to tell them the truth.
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re: in the heights book errors#22
Posted: 12/17/08 at 4:25pm
Oh, do we even want to get started on theories as to how Daniela's moving her shop because she can't afford the rent in Washington Heights anymore, and yet she can afford to be the cosigner on a *West Village* apartment? Would Daniela's income really be 80 times the rent? (Usual quantifier for a guarantor, right, to make 80 times the monthly rent?)
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re: in the heights book errors#23
Posted: 12/17/08 at 4:51pm
The 3am flight has always bothered me. The lyric is "Nina flew in at 3am last night"...Aren't her parents a little worried about her wherabouts? If she got into NYC at 3am, by the time they are singing that song it has to be earliest in my estimation 7 am, so where has she been for four hours?
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re: in the heights book errors#24
Posted: 12/17/08 at 4:56pm
Clearly you have never had to take pubic transportation from a NYC airport.

Depending on which airport she landed at, that could take at least an hour and a half, much longer in the middle of the night.

Still not four hours, but at least now she's only unaccounted for for two hours or less.
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