LEAVING GLORYTOWN by Eduardo F.  Calcines


One Boy’s Struggle Under Castro
Age Range: 12 - 15
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Calcines pulls no punches in this intense account of a youth spent in 1960s Cuba. Portraying himself and his large extended family as victims of brutal, faceless, inept Communists, struggling to cope with “oppression, hunger, fear, poverty, and violence,” he nonetheless recalls being surrounded by loving adults who weathered adversity with a combination of strong character and unshakeable faith. Even while bearing witness to ugly incidents in his barrio and being subjected to harsh treatment in school after his father’s courageous decision to apply for an exit visa to the United States, he doesn’t forget the kindness of equally impoverished neighbors, the small adventures of growing up or adolescent banter—“Not even Communism will protect her from my manly powers,” he grandly announces to his amigos after hooking up with an attractive classmate, “watch and learn.” The author ends with poignant farewells after the long-awaited permission to emigrate arrives at the end of 1969 and a quick epilogue covering the past 40 years. Even after all that time, his outrage at the economic and social destruction wrought by Castro’s Revolution remains undimmed. (Memoir. 12-15)

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-374-34394-1
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2009


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