- Tapa blanda: 336 páginas
- Editor: Granta Books (1 de octubre de 2011)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 1846272017
- ISBN-13: 978-1846272011
Something Fierce (Inglés) Tapa blanda – oct 2011
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One minute, 11-year-old Carmen is watching her hippy mum put curlers in for the first time, the next she is being dragged with her sister through LA airport with her mother muttering about 'the patriarchy' under breath. The three of them board a plane that takes them to Peru, next door to the Chile from which the family had fled after Pinochet's coup. Eight days after landing in Lima, and still perplexed by their mother's disguises and lies, they're off again, on a bus bound they know not where. They are then to spend most of the next decade, the 1980s, moving from dictatorship to dictatorship, evading capture, torture and peril at every turn. It is no way to spend your teenage years, until, overnight, it becomes the way Carmen herself chooses - She writes: 'It is not my intention to present myself as a hero or a martyr. On the contrary, Something Fierce is the story of a resistance member living in fear. Fear that my political convictions would not be strong enough to keep myself committed to a cause that I believed in but which clashed with my other desires: to live a normalA" life, to sleep a full night's sleep, to dance and laugh and talk nonsense without my radar up, without having to watch every word, every choice I make.'
Biografía del autor
CARMEN AGUIRRE was taken, aged 11, from her comfortable Canadian exile, by her mother, to Chile, then Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, spending the next 6 years in the safe houses her mother and stepfather ran. At 18, she joined the guerrilla resistance in Pinochet's Chile. Today she again lives in Canada, where she is a celebrated playwright and actress - she was in Quinceanera, a Sundance winner. This is her first book.
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During the approximately 10-year period covered in her memoirs, from age 11 to 21, the author recounts many of the types of experiences one might expect the average girl to have: interacting with family, friends, boyfriends and acquaintances during an impressionable time, but the play backs show her heightened awareness for differences in the social classes (p 29), "I was sorry that Peru wouldn't be our last stop. I wanted us to join the resistance here so we could help the angry teenagers in the streets and the little boy outside the hotel and the chambermaid whose children were dying of diarrhea and the Indian family who had carried the tables and chairs for the Austrians and this old mule take the streets and squares and mountains and make Peru their own," and understanding of the potential danger, (p 16) "I knew I'd aim a stone at those paramilitaries and miss, and then I'd be tortured with electric shocks and sent to the firing squad..." Resentful of the situation, Carmen sometimes acts out, and engages in rebellious, destructive behaviors. While a lot of its subject matter is serious, Ms. Aguirre's story is not without humor, for example, her mother, shod in platform shoes, saying (p 1), "Firing squad to the woman hater who invented heels," and the author's contention that two different dictionaries (rich and poor) are required in Peru (p 23), `If you looked up the word bathroom in the Poor Peru dictionary, the definition would be: "Just over the hill there." If you looked it up in the Rich Peru dictionary, the definition would read: "Marble room with gold taps and its own servant to keep it sparkling."' Because her mother did such a good job of inculcating her, (p 15) "we didn't believe in charity...We believed in revolution...A classless society is what we were fighting for...," and, (p 32) `Genocide was committed in the name of the Church and progress. That's why we are atheists,"' it should come as no surprise to readers that, at age 18, Ms. Aguirre takes the oath and joins the movement.
Although I appreciated becoming less ignorant about the resistance movement, I found myself thinking about what was going on in my own life through age 21, working to pay my own way through college in order to obtain a degree in a challenging field of study that would allow me to earn a decent wage upon graduation, that is, heading towards towards capitalism. Something Fierce, the Canada Reads selection for 2012, is an important, informative, ingenuous coming-of-age story about a girl's experience as a revolutionary's daughter and eventual revolutionary. Also good: 11 Years in Soviet Prison Camps by Elinor Lipper, Even Silence Has an End by Ingrid Betancourt and Red Azalea by Anchee Min.
by Carmen Aguirre
Review by Kathleen Schmitt
Darkly comic? That's the description of the book given by, I think, the publisher. Yes, there are some funny parts. Life without humor is sort of like life without breathing, and the more extreme the conditions, the more likely some humor will erupt. But humor is not the main point of Something Fierce. This is a book of passionate anger against violent crimes and the will to give everything to stop them. What makes the book so compelling is that our protagonist is so young and so vulnerable.
Carmen Aguirre, along with her mother, step-father, and sister, led a double life, first as a child of revolutionaries, and later as a revolutionary herself, from the time she was eleven years old. The story she reveals in this memoir is one that every thoughtful person should read, because we know so little of what the resistance and the sacrifice of Latin Americans has been in their quest over the last century to gain independence from a succession of imperial forces, the latest and longest being the United States of America with its commercial dominance.
Curiously, we see that the blatant inhumanity of Latin American leaders trained by the School of the Americas (USA) in techniques of ruthless oppression, destruction and torture has persuaded many citizens of those countries to turn against extreme capitalism, especially in its newest form, "The New Economic Order," or neo-liberalism. Of great importance to the story is that the local dictators in these countries never could have succeeded in creating such nightmarish conditions for the people without the military and financial aid of the USA.
This memoir has the suspense and terror of a thriller and yet the wonderful human intensity of a young girl with normal longings and aspirations that she somehow has to eke out of the life she has taken on. Few young people have the ability or the desire to make the kind of total commitment that was necessary for exiled Chileans in their effort to reclaim their country from one of recent history's most evil men, Augusto Pinochet. But Ms. Aguirre did it. Not infallibly but at great cost and with great courage.
Read this book. Ponder what this tale means to us in our own lives wherever we are. We live in a time where dissent and human rights are being eroded in the interest of "national securities." No society or nation or civilization is exempt from the possibility that an oppression similar to what happened in Latin American countries can be imposed through mass hysteria and the manipulation of fear. When that happens, the story will be more than a thriller. It will be a horror story that at the least rivals those of the Holocaust.