Flight to Freedom by Ana Veciana-Suarez;
Orchard Books: New York, 2002; $16.95
Flight to Freedom by Ana Veciana-Suarez is amazing right from the start. It is definitely a page-turner and will keep you reading for hours. When I first received the book, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy reading it. I had second thoughts about reviewing it because I usually don’t like journal-style writing. I started on page one and in a flash I changed my mind.
This book is a daily journal belonging to a young lady named Yara Garcia. This book takes you through the easy, rough, happy and sad times of Yara that take place while she and her family are going through the process of exile. This “almost thirteen years old” girl tells us about her home life in Cuba and her days in La Escuela al Campo, a communist training camp. She tells us about her flight to America, her new life in America, and the different feelings and obstacles she faces every day of her new world.
This story felt so realistic to me because my dad and his family went through the same thing. They came from Cuba to America in 1961. My dad was only eighteen months old and doesn’t remember much, but my aunts do and they share their stories.
My feelings toward this book are natural. At some points I was laughing, celebrating or being proud of Yara’s actions, but at other times I was crying, scared, or upset. For example, when she talked about how her abuelo said, “I may never live to see my home country again,” I was sad, feeling upset for him. I couldn’t even imagine not being able to see my hometown or country again. Another example is when her abuelo died of a heart attack. I was crying very much because my abuelo from Cuba also died of a heart attack. I was scared thinking that it must mean something, but I just let it go. Nightmares that night? Oh yes!!
When I hear about the cruelness of Fidel Castro and the horrible times the Cuban people went through, I think how lucky I am to live in a free country. I am able to do, say, and act in whichever way I want. I feel sorry for the Cubans and hope that one day Castro will come to his senses and let them live freely!
I love this book and not only will I recommend it to my friends and family, I will read it over and over again!