19 April 2009

Leaving Glorytown, One Boy's Struggle Under Castro; Eduardo F. Calcines

Leaving Glorytown: One Boy's Struggle Under Castro Leaving Glorytown: One Boy's Struggle Under Castro by Eduardo F. Calcines

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this memoir, mainly because the author doesn't rely on others' memories to do his work for him. By that I mean, it's clearly what he felt, saw, remembers rather than what he's been told he felt, saw or remembered from that time - the memories are stronger the older he gets.

Life before Castro is barely memorable to Eduardo, but he does clearly remember all the gatherings, the sense of family, and the richness of that life; after Fidel takes power, he's aware of the Voice, the food shortages, the changes in daily life and slowly of the failure of the Glorious Revolution. The stick of Juicy Fruit gum (ok, a small eighth of a stick) that he makes last for weeks drives this all home. What strikes me is that what he experiences is universal to any culture/people under a dictatorial regime, and I think that the audience for whom this book is intended will see that, too.

Ending as they enter American airspace, you can sense the possibilities that he's feeling. The epilogue hints that the transition might not have been easy, but it's clear that his concept of American the Free has never wavered.

A good read to "celebrate" the 50th anniversary of the revolution, and the recent opening of travel to Cuba. If Mr. Calcines goes back, it'd be interesting to see how his memories of Glorytown compare with what's there now.

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