Thursday, July 9, 2009

Before We Were Free

My youngest son will be a middle schooler next month so the two of us are trying to get through his summer reading list together. They only have to read one of 13 books, but we're trying to read them all.

Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez is the story of Anita de la Torre, a twelve-year-old girl living in the Dominican Republic in 1960. Although her family lives in a family compound, most of her relatives have emigrated to the United States because of their suspected opposition to the dictator, El Jefe. The adults around her are acting mysteriously and she finds herself a part of frightening events.

This little historical fiction just took me by surprise. I didn't think I could really get so pulled in by this young narrator, but the story is so poignant and the voice of Anita is so raw. I wanted her to find her wings. I wanted her to get the boy. I wanted her to have something to dream about.

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