Book club met last night and discussed this month’s selection by
Carlos Eire. I had read it seven years ago, and reread half of it–skimmed the rest, but then couldn’t make it to book club. 😦
This is the story/memoir/biography of Carlos Eire growing up in Cuba,
and then being transported to Miami during operation Pedro Pan. In
1962, after Fidel Castro came to power, 14,000 children were airlifted out of Cuba.
Carlos never saw his father again, and he and his brother Tony were in foster care
for three years before their mother was able to come to the United States.
Carlos always remained bitter that his father chose not to come, too. Later, Carlos
dropped his family name and took his mother’s maiden name, Eire, for his own.
I think that’s a powerful move. A name is who you are, where you
Growing up in Cuba in the 1950’s was fascinating to read about. Carlos
and his gang of friends were allowed to roam freely, and played hard and wildly—making experiments with lizards, and shooting off firecrackers which Carlos’ father provided! Carlos’ father was a judge and was well respected in Havana. The family
I found it interesting that they watched tons of TV—like we did–Hopalong Cassidy, Gunsmoke, Tarzan, Perry Mason, etc, but never I Love Lucy—a television show with
a Cuban in it?
As you can imagine, in Roman Catholic Cuba, Christmas was a huge holiday. Castro outlawed Christmas. Outlawed Christmas!
Another thing I had remembered about the book was Tony and Carlos musing about clouds—how the sky in Miami wasn’t as blue as a Cuban sky—but how often the clouds were in the shape of Cuba!
I think it’s a good discussion book—my club all seemed glad they had
read the book–a different slant on things.
You can get a pretty good taste of Chapter One by going to Amazon. com.
After you’ve read the two editorial reviews, click on “more editorial
reviews”———–and below that is an excerpt from Chapter One.
You might find this enough to determine whether you or your club might enjoy reading the book. It was published in 2003, so it’s widely
available at this point if your club borrows books from the library.
If you read it, let me know what you think, too.