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As a daughter of a revolutionary, Carmen Aguirre tells us of her life living in Latin American, during the 1970s and 80s, when many countries experienced coups, revolutions, debt crises (and the structural adjustment programs of the IMF), civil wars, and severe human rights violations.

Aguirre, who is a native Chilean, moves frequently during the period when her mother and her step-father are involved with the Chilean resistance against Augusto Pinochet. Her and her family lived in many different countries, such as Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, and Canada.

What I really liked about this book is that in each country Aguirre lives in, it is much different than the last. As Peru is dealing with a civil war between the government and the Shining Path rebels, Bolivia experiences a coup and then later a harsh dictatorship, and Chile is still the same country she idolizes when staying with her grandparents in the valleys.

Aguirre reconciles with the responsibilities and duties of being a revolutionary daughter with establishing her own identity, as an independent, strong-willed, intelligent woman.

She later on becomes heavily involved with the resistance, even though she experiences doubt when she’s a teenager. The message she sends across is that you must do what is necessary to stop bloodshed or to bring down a dictatorship because it is the right thing to do. You must stop any harm to the innocent. This is a very powerful message, because especially in a time of upheaval, Aguirre (and her mother and step-father) were risking their lives to carry out the resistance. One must think they had no other choice but to respond in kind to the Chilean government’s actions.

However, I must say that Aguirre never specifically detailed what she was doing for the Chilean resistance, only that she and her husband earned a pilot’s license to fly “goods” across to Chile. What those goods were, she never said. Of course, if I were to guess, I’d say they were weapons or ingredients for a bomb or whatever. But then again, I could be wrong – it might have been medical supplies or food. It blows my mind to even think that people had to do this, to experience what the Latin Americans did during this time, to have your freedom cut down or taken away.

I have studied Latin America in this time period in school and am fascinated by the region. But to see it through the eyes of Carmen, who was coming of age in Bolivia and Chile and Argentina, I am also able to relate to her, because she still experiences what any other teenager would – having your first kiss, making best friends, falling in love, going to school, dealing with family drama, and becoming a woman. It definitely makes you think of what you would have done in her shoes, and isn’t that what a great story should do?

Rating:

{  } Pretty bad
{  } Tolerable
{  } All right
{  } Exciting
{x} Enthralling

Book 21 out of 60