A skillful melding of individual personalities with the grand currents of history.

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FINDING MAÑANA

A MEMOIR OF A CUBAN EXODUS

A thorough and exciting account of the events leading to the daring, massive exodus of more than 125,000 people from Cuba’s Mariel harbor in 1980.

Cuban-American journalist Ojito’s mission here is not only to tell her own family’s story—they were finally allowed to join relatives in South Florida after waiting 15 years—but to probe a question: How could Fidel Castro allow the hemorrhaging of the Cuban population? Ojito’s parents were apolitical and thus undesirable in the communist country, where they were frequently targeted for ridicule and exiles were called gusanos (worms) for abandoning the revolution. Yet by the late 1970s, during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, a thaw began to develop between Cuba and the US, which had imposed an economic embargo on the nation for two decades but now hoped to negotiate for the release of native and American prisoners from Cuba’s prisons. Castro trusted Carter’s record on human rights and needed to boost a sagging Cuban economy by courting the exiles in America. A successful Cuban living in Panama, Bernardo Benes, was chosen to mediate the détente, which orchestrated return visits by Cuban-Americans (now called mariposas, butterflies) to spend dollars in Cuba. In the spring of 1980, an unemployed bus driver named Hector Sanyustiz made embarrassingly public the desperation of ordinary citizens seeking a way out of the country when he rammed a bus through the Peruvian embassy in Cuba and 10,000 asylum seekers flooded in. Amid complicated diplomatic wrangling, a plan was devised to bring expatriates in southern Florida on chartered boats to Mariel harbor, from which they would transport thousands of undesirable relatives out of the country. Ojito, a reporter for the New York Times tells a suspenseful story, moving back from May 7, 1980, when police arrived at her family’s Havana doorstep asking if they were willing to “abandon” their country, through the years preceding their triumphant arrival on American soil.

A skillful melding of individual personalities with the grand currents of history.

Pub Date: April 11, 2005

ISBN: 1-59420-041-6

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2005

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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