Monday, February 11, 2013

Something Fierce

Carmen Aguirre

What does it mean to be a revolutionary? In her memoirs, Carmen Aguirre answers this question very well. And she does it by telling the story of her life growing up in the underground resistance against the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile during the 1970s and 1980s. Winner of Canada Reads 2012, Something Fierce presents us with a teenage girl who wants to give everything she has in order to liberate her homeland—and to make up with a handsome boy as well.

One of my favourite aspects of this book was Aguirre's recollections of being in the resistance. It is incredible what they had to go through—secret messages to be passed, “goods” to be delivered, orders to be followed immediately. And if they were caught, torture and death would be added to their daily planners. As a Latin American myself, I am proud to be represented by Aguirre, with her courage to defend the people of her continent. Her political commitment is, simply, a model to learn from.

And when it comes to Latin American politics, I can tell you that if you read Something Fierce, by page 100 you will be wearing a Cuban flag pin on your hat. I am serious—it happened to me! A recommended read for all those who want to learn more about the history of Latin America and be reminded that revolutionaries are not just political tools but human beings with complex, rich lives.

- Jaime R. Brenes Reyes

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