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Learning to Die in Miami by Carlos Eire


[Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy borrowed from my local public library.]

Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy by Carlos Eire (2010) is the story of one family's experience as part of Operation Pedro (or Peter) Pan in 1962, when 14,000 children left Cuba alone to resettle in the United States.

Expecting to be reunited with their mother soon, eleven-year-old Carlos and his older brother instead embarked on a life-changing experience. As their mother struggles to leave Cuba to reunite with them, always expecting to leave their father to guard the family home and art collection, the boys live through culture shock, the horror of sadistic foster parents, and a serious drop in class status/standard of living.

I appreciated reading this book because (a) I knew nothing about Operation Peter Pan and (b) I like reading first-hand accounts of the immigration experience. I didn't particularly care for the way the author moves between time periods, almost like rambling through an oral telling of a story, or the eventual outcome for three of the four family members.

My overall personal rating of Learning to Die in Miami is a B.

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