Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Boy Who Said No by Patti Sheehy

Book:  The Boy Who Said No

Author:  Patti Sheehy 

Grade:  B -

Recommended To:  Cuban Refugees 

This book is about young man who attempts to escape Communist Cuba shortly after Fidel's rise to power.  This book also documented how boys over the age of fifteen were conscripted into military service and forced to support the Literary Campaign and Harvest Campaigns put forth by the Castro regime.  And, get this!  The book is a true story!

I have never read about book about life in Cuba before Castro's rise to power and the impact that Castro's revolution had.  Most of the books I've read about Cuba are about escape from deplorable conditions by people who only lived under the Castro regime.

The main character in this book falls in love with a gorgeous girl and when she and her family escape to the United States, Frankie also attempts to leave.  To do this, he must leave the army, hide for weeks and brave the open sea in a small fishing boat to get to freedom.

There were two peeves I had with this book.  The first is the dialogue.  The author clearly took liberties with the dialogue of characters and scenarios that Frankie was not a part of.  Those parts may be close renderings of what happened, but we will never know for sure because the author only interviewed Frankie.  

Second, you never find out what happens between Frankie and the hot girl!  I read this book for two days hoping that he gets to America and is reunited with his love, only to read in the Epilogue that this is a "story for another time."  What!  That's the only reason why I was reading this!  It was like the book just ended without a resolution.  I was very disappointed and that bumped the grade of this book down from a B to a B-.

Even with the irritating bits, I recommend this book.  It was a fresh perspective on life in Cuba, the programs imposed by Fidel and the risks of escape.  I generally enjoyed it.

Happy Reading!!

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