Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Review: Havana Real by Yoani Sánchez

Title: Havana Real
Author: Yoani Sánchez
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Melville House
Publish Date: April 26, 2011
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "Yoani Sánchez is an unusual dissident: no street protests, no attacks on big politicos, no calls for revolution. Rather, she produces a simple diary about what it means to live under the Castro regime: the chronic hunger and the difficulty of shopping; the art of repairing ancient appliances; and the struggles of living under a propaganda machine that pushes deep into public and private life.

For these simple acts of truth-telling her life is one of constant threat. But she continues on, refusing to be silenced—a living response to all who have ceased to believe in a future for Cuba."

My Two Cents:

"Havana Real" is a book based on a blog by Yoani Sanchez, an outspoken critic of the Cuban government. As an American, Cuba has always been this untouchable place. Being a student of politics and history, I understood why this was and wondered if I would ever see the relationship between our countries change. Since this book was written, politics have changed quite a bit. It remains to be seen what the relationship between our two countries will be like under the new Presidential administration. This book is best looked at as a capture of a certain time and place in a certain Cuba. It gives context to where the country has been as well as where it may be going.

This book came out in 2011 and is made up of blogs written before then so some of the information does feel a bit outdated. This is obviously not the fault of the book but the fault of the time that I am reading it. Things have certainly changed. This book is a collection of blogs that Sanchez wrote over a long period of time and each gives insight into what is going on at the time.

The writing of this book is what makes the story. Sanchez is unafraid of telling the truth without mincing words. At the time she is writing, that could have easily gotten her in trouble. The blogs are blogs. They don't necessarily connect to each other and there is no background or context for them, which made the book feel a bit disjointed and jumpy.

Overall, this was a good collection of glimpses into normal lives of Cubans during the mid-2000s.



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