Surfers, soul brothers, hippies, and thugs—they’re all part of Victor “Skinny” Delgado’s world growing up in Miami during the turbulent 1960s. Fleeing the Castro regime in Cuba, Skinny’s once-wealthy family moves from a mansion in Havana to a roach-infested bungalow in Miami’s low-rent Wynwood district. Over the next ten years the Delgados struggle to survive in this strange new land—a place where fat men in red suits enter your home through the chimney, demons appear at the door begging for candy, and young women go on dates without chaperones. There’s only one constant in Skinny’s world as he grows from 8 to 18. He longs in vain for the girl of his dreams: his neighbor Janice Bockman who seems everything American—and everything he’s not.
|Publisher:||Beck & Branch Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)|
What People are Saying About This
"Illuminates, with grace and wit, both one boy's passage and the complex story of Cuba's exiles." --John Thorndike, Author of THE LAST OF HIS MIND
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really loved this book. It's not one of those books that you finish just to get it over with. I actually didn't want the story to end. I became part of the family! Victor, the main character is a young man who moved with his family from living a rich life in Havanna, to living a very poor life in Miami. He tries to fit in, and during the process gets himself into some quite funny situations (especially trying to impress the American girls)! You'll connect with the family members (everyone has that one in-law) you'll fall in love the characters, you'll feel the struggle, and you'll learn more about the history that we never really knew. I will read this book again and will recommend you do the same.
"The Skinny Years” by Raul Ramos y Sanchez reminds me of my own childhood, trying to grow up in a world where things don’t always make sense, where culture, language and family dynamics all get thrown into a giant blender. For the protagonist, Victor “Skinny” Delgado, his immigrant story takes him from Cuba to the underbelly of Miami in the 1960’s and that is where he struggles to sort things out and come of age. As someone from the West Coast, it’s refreshing to read this story from “the other coast” and learn about the obstacles and socioeconomic context of the massive movement from Cuba to the United States. “The Skinny Years” adds another important patch to that which we call the great American quilt of migration that is the foundation of this country.
The Skinny Years by Raul Ramos y Sanchez Once when I was reading the back cover of a book I was interested in, the author took it from me and said, “No That’s not how you decide! Here.” He opened it up and handed it back to me to read the first page of his book. “You start reading and see if the writing’s good!” That wasn’t how I chose, because I was a teacher and had to do a lot of reading for information. Whether the writing was good or not, I needed the information so didn’t have the luxury of ONLY reading good writing. The Skinny Years is one of those wonderful books where you get both: excellent writing that pulls you right in, AND important information. I have read all of this author’s books and recommend them to everyone. His books are my favorites, and the only ones I have ever reread, since I was a child. THIS one I was excited waiting for publication because I have a bit of an obsession with Cuba. I was happy to be able to get information from someone I have come to trust since reading and following him on Facebook. I’ve read many, many books about Cuba, wanting to understand more and to specifically understand the main two different perspectives about the revolution from those who lived it. As I compare this fictionalized account of a Cuban family leaving for America to all of the non-fiction I have read, it seems to be reality based and consistent with what I have learned, while helping the reader experience for herself, both the cognitive and the emotional depth of such an experience. I also found it to be an interesting picture of psychosocial development of a young boy growing into a man in these circumstances. Additionally, this is just a plain great read whether you have an interest in Cuba or not, but what a great coincidence to have it out as the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba is opening up. Very exciting. I haven’t been able to figure out which “side” of the story the author agrees with. For me that’s part of the beauty of this book. It’s not a political rant about “sides”. It’s a fascinating description of one person’s experience. As such, it has very effectively broadened my understanding not only of Cuba, but of human nature itself. Highly recommended. Five star read.
Raul Ramos y Sanchez in The Skinny Years, gifts us with this loving, funny, chronology of the Delgado family. Not a family in the world escapes struggles, successes, failures, or lacks of heroes and beloved flawed characters. The wealth of ‘The Skinny Years,’ is in its graceful story telling style. Engaging, one turns the pages quickly, looking forward to learning more, while becoming enmeshed into the Delgado’s rich daily life experiences. This is an American story, starting out as a Cuban story. It is a ‘one of us story’, it is an immigrant story. Whether you came over on the Mayflower, or during the Cuban Diaspora, this is the story time and again, of what makes America so distinctly unique. It’s the story of people leaving one shore, embarking on a dangerous journey, penniless, to the land of ‘who knows what kind of opportunity?’ with the words freedom and opportunity being the draw. And it is the story of ‘thank these mighty shores for taking us in.’ A story resonating today. The Delgados’ are a wealthy Havana family, having achieved the pinnacle of status. They are Batista Loyalist, sure, and assured by their connections that the communists, will never topple the government, take over their business, or control their future. Life turns on a dime, and the Delgados, find themselves leaving their mansion, maids, chauffers’, cooks, their privileged society. Reaching the Miami shores, Juan Delgado keeps his family going on promises that Fidel will be deposed in a very short time, and they will return to their Havana. Time passes and the contrite, Abuela-in-law, who was not left behind, realizes things will not get better unless the son-in-law finds a job; a common job, any job. Juan Delgado is too proud, and his wife, realizing this, finds one, housekeeping in a hotel. Opportunity does not knock at the door. Life, changes. Roles change. The Cubano hierarchy, with the male figure as its head is now in shambles. Juan Delgado, marginally recognized as its figure head evolves into nothingness, while the family still pretends that he matters, and forges ahead. Food on the table, rent on time, learning a new language and keeping their children in check, challenges on all levels. Each person in the Delgado family finds a new identity in these United States of America. It is a coming of age story. One, that if you grew up in the 60s, or 70s you will recognize. It is a Miami, gone. The Miami, of all our childhoods, in whatever city, town or village you lived in. The times are relatively naïve, unencumbered by over bearing authority figures. It is those days, I believe we wish in some subliminal way we’d return to, although, as the story also exposes, there were racial and economic divides which made life hostile, difficult, and uncomfortable for those not ‘white, or not white e’nuf.’ The Skinny Years, is a lovely tale, of the past. Well remembered, told with lots of amor.