Cuba: My Revolution

Cuba: My Revolution

by Inverna Lockpez, Dean Haspiel
     
 

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Seventeen-year-old Sonia, a medical student with dreams of becoming a modernist painter, is caught up in Fidel Castro’s revolution from the moment it captures Havana on New Year’s Eve 1958. While her eccentric mother hatches an increasingly desperate series of plans to flee Cuba, Sonia joins the militia and volunteers as a medic at the Bay of Pigs

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Overview

Seventeen-year-old Sonia, a medical student with dreams of becoming a modernist painter, is caught up in Fidel Castro’s revolution from the moment it captures Havana on New Year’s Eve 1958. While her eccentric mother hatches an increasingly desperate series of plans to flee Cuba, Sonia joins the militia and volunteers as a medic at the Bay of Pigs — where she encounters her mortally wounded high school sweetheart as an enemy fighter, then is arrested and tortured for treating another CIA-trained brigadier.  Scarred, yet clinging to her revolutionary ideals, she seeks fulfillment in an artists’ collective, only to be further disillusioned by increasing repression under Castro. Finally, she flees to America where she has been a painter and influential arts activist.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This dramatic account of the experiences of a young woman named Sonya during the Cuban revolution is based on the experiences of Lockpez. The narrative traces Sonya as she transforms from an idealist revolutionary studying to be a surgeon to a dissident artist who realizes she must flee her beloved but troubled country. Along the way, she witnesses carnage, is imprisoned and tortured, and is separated from her family. In the midst of the chaos, she also finds love. Haspiel, who has known Lockpez for over 20 years, provides striking illustrations that chart Sonya's shifting emotions and alliances; particularly strong are the surrealist depictions of her dreams and her ordeal in prison. Painter José Villarubia adds tones and shades of red that further intensify the story. At times Lockpez relies too heavily on clunky exposition explaining the history of Cuba and Castro, although some readers may find the context helpful. It is impossible to deny the power of Lockpez's dramatic coming-of-age story, which make the human cost of the revolution all too clear. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Beginning on the eve of Fidel Castro's takeover of Havana in 1959, this graphic novel chronicles episodes in the life of Sonya, a 17-year-old Cuban native. Filled with idealistic dreams, she gives up painting to become a doctor to support the needs of the revolution. After being mistaken for a CIA agent and brutally tortured, Sonya attempts painting once again, only to find censorship and criticism. Working from a true story, Lockpez, a Cuban native and artist herself, crafts realistic characters and complex relationships that drive the story beyond cliché. The people's perspective, as represented by Sonya, is distinctive to the literature, as other graphic novels, such as Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon's Che: A Graphic Biography, focus more on the revolution's leaders. Haspiel's (The Quitter) highly emotive, black-and-white illustrations with red spot color perfectly suit Lockpez's text.Verdict Readers with little knowledge of Cuban history will find this graphic novel to be both informative and suspenseful. Recommended for adult readers and older high school students owing to the violence, torture, and nudity.—Joanna Schmidt, George Fox Univ., Newberg, OR
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—This memoir is an excellent example of the graphic novel's ability to make pain visible. Opening panels dated December 31, 1958, introduce Sonya, fashionably dressed in vibrant red, looking forward to a new year with Fidel Castro's overthrow of the Batista regime and a new hope for Cuba. "I feel a new beginning has come for my country. Finally the justice and equality we have yearned for is about to happen." Sonya gets caught up with the fervor of this movement and renounces her plans to study art. Instead she joins the military and commences medical studies in her zeal to bring positive change to her beloved country. However, life in Cuba becomes progressively worse. This is signaled visually by the change to a black-and-white palette. She is imprisoned and tortured by her own country. Her mother, stepfather, and infant sister are finally able to leave, but Sonya stubbornly refuses to go, clinging to her dreams and ideals. The final panel reveals her tear-stained face, etched with the years of pain and horror as she finally leaves Cuba. "I don't know right from wrong anymore. What happened to the principles we believed in five years ago? I'm always afraid, all the time. All the time." The pain is both visually and verbally palpable. Due to graphic depictions of violence and nudity this searing account is most appropriate for mature readers.—Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401222178
Publisher:
DC Comics
Publication date:
09/14/2010
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
9.58(w) x 11.26(h) x 0.65(d)
Age Range:
16 Years

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