Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann This is a new release from Curbstone Press, a non profit publisher of Latin American and Latino literature. It's 1986, 17yr old Daniel Aguilar lives in Wisconsin, with his mother and younger sister. The Aguilar's fled their native country of Chile, 6 years earlier after the secret police came in the middle of the night and arrested Daniel's father, Marcelo. At the time Chile was under the rule of Augusto Pinochet . Marcelo risked his life to expose Pinochet's unjust government. I was unfamiliar with Chiliean politics or government when I started Gringolandia. However the author includes notes about Chiliean government prior to the first chapter, giving the reading of a better understanding of the climate the Aguliar's were living in. Daniel's adjusted well to life in Wisconsin. He plays guitar in a band and gets good grades and has a girlfriend. Everything changes for Aguilar's when Marcelo is finally released from prison. In the opening chapters the author describes some of the torture, Marcelo experiences in prison. At times I cringed at the way Marcelo was treated. As the novel continued I was glad the author talked of Marcelo's time in a Chiliean prison, it made it easier for me to understand why he had hard time transitioning into life in America. Marcelo's discomfort upsets the balance in the Aguilar household. Daniel is rediscovering his father and finally realizing why his father would risk his freedom. The chapters alternate between Daniel and his girlfriend Courtney, who has a story of her own. Far from his homeland Marcelo doesn't stop fighting for it. He goes on talks across the country in hopes of bringing awareness to what's going on in Chile. There is no stopping Marcelo, Daniel must decide whether or not to help him. Will Daniel risk his life to help his father sneak back into his homeland? I really enjoyed Gringolandia. Towards the end it was nice watching Daniel find some of his father inside of himself.

6 comments:

Lyn Miller-Lachmann said...

Thank you for the review, Doret. I'm glad you liked the book so much. For those who want to learn more, I've added a teacher's guide to my web site at web.mac.com/lynml. It includes background information, discussion questions and activities, and an annotated resource list that includes books, DVDs, web sites, and a video game.

campbele said...

I have a copy of Gringolandia, too. Unfortunately, I got it too late to consider it for the summer reading list, but I'm looking forward to reading this book about the era in Chilean history,even more so after reading your review!

Doret said...

Lyn Miller-Lachmann, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. And I'll link to the teachers guide.

Thanks Edi, You'll enjoy it.

Ali said...

Wow. I love everything about this, from the alternating viewpoints to the father's storyline. I really want to read this! Heading over to read the exerpt right now. Thanks for this, Doret.

Rebecca :) said...

Hi! Ali sent me over to read this and it sounds great! I had not heard of Curbstone Press, either, so thank you for the link! I have already been poking around their site! I was just experimenting with a new feature on my blog called Take Me Away and featured books from Chile. Maybe you will find another book that interests you! http://imlostinbooks.blogspot.com/2009/05/take-me-away-saturday.html

Doret said...

Hey Rebecca thanks for not only stopping by but leaving a comment. I am off to do the same