Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Leaving GloryTown Eduardo F Calcines

Leaving Glorytown: One Boy's Struggle Under Castro by Eduardo F. Calcines Eduardo's family lived in the city of Cienfuegos, settled in a barrio know as Glorytown. He was only three when Castro came into power in 1959. He lived with his parents and younger sister and surrounded by extended family. Eduardo is very close to his family especially his grandparents. Besides the family relationships, I loved Eduardo's friendship with his cousin Luis and brothers Rolando and Tito. The fact that the brother's father was a communist matter not. The four were very close all dreaming of there own kind of freedom. Eduardo talks of the changes that came to Cuba when Castro came into power. The long lines and food rations. People being unjustly arrested. The loudspeakers installed around the city, so The Voice could speak for hours. How families throughout Cuba were torn apart.

Mama would tell us story of the time Peruchito (cousin) came to visit Abuela Ana and Abuelo Julian in full military dress. As he walked through the front door, he noticed that the framed photograph of Fidel he'd sent was no where to be found. "Abuela!"he said, "Where is the photo of El Commandante? You should take down this picture of Jesus and replace it with Fidel. He is the only one who can save us, not some long haired Jew!" "Look young man," she said "The photo of your so called leader is in the back room facedown with a glass of water over it." Placing a photograph facedown meant "rest in peace" in this case expressing a with that fidel would die. It was about as antirevolutionary a statement as one could make. And the glass of water with no flowers in it meant no one would miss Fidel if he died. Peruchito turned and walked out of the house, never to return. We wondered if he would report his grandmother, but nothing ever came of the incident.

Eduardo's father applied for an exit visa from the government in 1966. The Calcines family endured many taunts and abuse for this act.Eduardo's father was forced to work in the cane fields. Leaving Glorytown is very good by the time the Calcines family boards the plane for America you feel their loss, hope and excitement. Leaving GloryTown fills an important void, there aren' t many books about Castro and Cuba for young readers. Ages 10up
Leaving GloryTown will be released on March 31

1 comment:

Ali said...

Ooh, this looks like a good one to read with my boys. We have friends who have traveled to Cuba many times and are very close with some amazing people who live there. Thanks for the review!