Eduardo F. Calcines was a child of Fidel Castro's Cuba; he was just three years old when Castro came to power in January 1959. After that, everything changed for his family and his country. When he was ten, his family applied for an exit visa to emigrate to America and he was ridiculed by his schoolmates and even his teachers for being a traitor to his country. But even worse, his father was sent to an agricultural reform camp to do hard labor as punishment for daring to want to leave Cuba. During the years to come, as he grew up in Glorytown, a neighborhood in the city of Cienfuegos, Eduardo hoped with all his might that their exit visa would be granted before he turned fifteen, the age at which he would be drafted into the army.
In this absorbing memoir, by turns humorous and heartbreaking, Eduardo Calcines recounts his boyhood and chronicles the conditions that led him to wish above all else to leave behind his beloved extended family and his home for a chance at a better future.
|Publisher:||Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
|Lexile:||730L (what's this?)|
|File size:||470 KB|
|Age Range:||10 - 15 Years|
About the Author
EDUARDO F. CALCINES was born in Cuba in 1955 and immigrated to America at age fourteen. He is now a business owner, community activist, and news consultant. He lives in Tampa, Florida. Leaving Glorytown is his first book.
Born in October 1955 in Cienfuegos, Cuba, in the barrio traditionally known as Glorytown, the first child of a truck driver and a homemaker, Eduardo Calcines was very young at the time of Fidel Castro’s abrupt governmental takeover. Soon, Communism dug its roots deep into the island nation. Dissidents’ imprisonment and death at the hands of the new totalitarian government became commonplace. Calcines was profoundly scarred by the uncontrollable conditions brought upon him and his entire family, some of whom were dissidents themselves. From an early age, he rebelled against the oppression and injustice wielded by Castro’s government. His childhood became a mix of real-world turmoil and a fantasy life that he created for himself on the roof of his grandparents’ home—a rooftop escape underneath the branches of their avocado tree, high above the roosters and chickens, and the worries of daily life.
In 1969, at age fourteen, Calcines, along with his father, mother, and sister, finally escaped Castro’s “gulag” for a better life in the United States. After a five-year stay in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Calcines family moved south to Tampa, Florida, where Calcines currently resides with his own family. A successful businessman for over thirty years, Calcines finally decided to tell the story of his childhood in Communist Cuba with his gripping memoir Leaving Glorytown: One Boy’s Struggle Under Castro. His humorous and enthralling storytelling ability breathes life into the characters and anecdotes that shaped his childhood experiences. This same storytelling ability will lead to follow-up books. One is about coming of age as an immigrant in a new culture. A second is about becoming an adult, dealing with the pain of leaving his family, and coming to terms with his blinding hatred of Castro.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A exclent book
I found Eddy's book so engaging I couldn't put it down! I read it cover to cover in an afternoon. Although I had heard some stories about the struggles and persecutions of the Cuban people, I had never read an account from someone (from the eyes of a child) who had actually been there and who was able to make it to the U.S. I think this is an excellent book for adults and children. It would be a great summer reading pick for schools!