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Leaving Glorytown: One Boy's Struggle Under Castro
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Leaving Glorytown: One Boy's Struggle Under Castro

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  85 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Eduardo F. Calcines was a child of Fidel Castro's Cuba; he was just three years old when Castro came to power in January 1959. After that, everything changed for his family and his country. When he was ten, his family applied for an exit visa to emigrate to America and he was ridiculed by his schoolmates and even his teachers for being a traitor to his country. But even wo ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 31st 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Vamos a Leer
Aug 12, 2015 Vamos a Leer rated it really liked it
I realize that almost everything about Cuba is politically charged and polarized. This has made it difficult for me to write a review of Leaving Glorytown. Not only is it a book about life in Cuba after the 1959 Revolution, but it is also a memoir. To question the ideas or themes of a memoir is to question the author's own personal story. My position as a U.S. citizen weighs a little heavier on my mind when I write about Cuba, particularly when I struggle with books written about the Cuban exper ...more
Dec 03, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it
This was a good history of life under Fidel Castro. It was interesting to read this at the time of his death. He had great stories about his childhood growing up before Castro, during the Revolution, and after, when he was the leader. I feel like I understand what life was like for the author in Cuba during this time.
Vanessa Maeda
Nov 19, 2012 Vanessa Maeda rated it it was amazing
Main Character: Eduardo
Setting: Glorytown/Cienfuegos, Cuba
POV: 1st person- Eduardo


Eduardo F. Calcines, the main character, is a child living in Cuba under the reign of Fidel Castro. When he was only three years old, Castro came into power and after this, life changed for everyone. When he was ten, the Calcines family was able to apply for an exit visa in order to emigrate to America. Unfortunately, Eduardo was bullied and ridiculed by his schoolmates and even his teachers begin to call h
Jan 03, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
I liked this memoir, mainly because the author doesn't rely on others' memories to do his work for him. By that I mean, it's clearly what he felt, saw, remembers rather than what he's been told he felt, saw or remembered from that time - the memories are stronger the older he gets.

Life before Castro is barely memorable to Eduardo, but he does clearly remember all the gatherings, the sense of family, and the richness of that life; after Fidel takes power, he's aware of the Voice, the food shortag
Jul 23, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
Wow. This is powerful.

Eduardo was born just before Castro took over in Cuba. He recounts memories of growing up under Castro, from parties being broken up because gatherings of 3 or more people were illegal to being taunted by teachers and students in class because his family applied to leave to his girlfriend breaking up with him because he wasn't a Communist. He describes how his uncle was arrested for being a capitalist and his father was removed to a work camp for applying to leave the count
Aug 10, 2013 Peggy rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, memoir
Although this book is a YA level book, I learned so much from it. I have read memoirs and fiction books set in China when Communism was introduced there. This is my first book set in Cuba. The similarities of oppression, human indignities and suffering are surprising.
Eduardo Calcines is 3 years old when Castro takes power. He is part of a large, loving family who live close together on San Carlos Street. The introduction of Communism changes their entire lives. Some members of the family choo
Nick Verdino
This book really made me think about the things that I have. It made me appreciate the life I live. It's crazy to think what the poor Cuban people had to and have to go through. I enjoyed the epilogue because the author talks about the success he has had since he came to America. He has a nice life, a family, and a home in Tampa. He still thinks about Cuba everyday though, and I think I'll think about it often too after reading his novel where he described it so well. ""Most of all, even though ...more
Emanuel Garibay
Dec 17, 2013 Emanuel Garibay rated it it was amazing
Eduardo was a kid living in cuba. Everything was alright , until Fidel Castro came into power. He was only 3 years old of age when Fidel Castro came and over took the whole Cuban government and people. He sdaw changes everywhere he went including changes in his own families actions. They got less food, There where more soldiers around the street, and more things became illegal. This book shows the adventures of Eduardo , his other brothes, his friends, his grandparents, his unclesand aunties,and ...more
Narrated by the author. Performing his own book in audio format, the author invites listeners into his Cuban childhood and the challenges his family faced under Castro's rule while they awaited their lottery pick to leave for America. He exudes the warmth and strength of his family ties and Glorytown neighbors. Young listeners will also feel his anger and frustration of living under a Communist regime. This is ideal for a family listening experience and discussion, and is best suited for youths ...more
Oct 26, 2009 Phoebe rated it it was amazing
I liked this, it was really eye-opening. The author's matter-of-fact recounting of life in Cuba just as Castro comes to power is pretty chilling. His family makes the momentous decision to apply for exit visas, and every day thereafter is "punished" for wanting to leave. I was caught up in their anxiety and longing for the telegram approving their application. Everyone should read this book. Suitable for high school and up.
Adam Morel
Jul 08, 2016 Adam Morel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cuba
A searing testament to freedom, an intimate account of oppression, recounted through the eyes of a child coming to grips first hand with the nature of God and man, of love and power, of the perseverance of family and faith in the face of seemingly persistent evil. The true history of Fidel's Cuba, lived day by day, told from the porch steps of its people. Eduardo Calcines speaks for those who never could or never will.
Brandon Caslow
I thought that it was a great book. I think it taught some really great and valuable lessons. Small things like never saying " I'm starving" unless you actually are is important. Eduardo really didn't have much food but just enough to survive. At the end, I was so happy that Eduardo go to the United States Of America. That was a very happy moment. It was what he wanted his whole life and he finally got it. That's what is so cool about this book to me.
Dec 29, 2014 Veronica rated it it was amazing
This was a good, quick read that shows the incredible tension of a family living in the early days of Castro. I don't think it's any more than you'd expect (no big revelations) but it's written in a way that makes you care deeply that the family makes it to America because we already know they weren't going to outlast Castro!
Martha Schwalbe
Jun 23, 2014 Martha Schwalbe rated it really liked it
Last summer I read a book of poetry about Jews who fled German and settled in Cuba. This was my first introduction into Cuba. Leaving Glorytown is the story of life under Castro. Several summers ago I met a man on a train who told me the story of a prominent gymnast who fled Cuba during the time of this story. It's all rather amazing to me.
Annie Oosterwyk
Dec 29, 2009 Annie Oosterwyk rated it liked it
Reading a book like this makes me want to investigate what happened in Cuba when Castro and the communists took over. I am finding that children's or young adult literature is a great lead in to adult nonfiction.
Jul 10, 2013 Jeanette rated it it was amazing
One of the better books I've read on the Cuban revolution. Nice story about a boy's life in Cuba right after the revolution and how they got to America. Wonderful depiction of Cuban family life and values as they used to be.
Jul 26, 2009 Roslyn rated it it was amazing
I thorougly enjoyed this memoir. The author's memories of his family's struggle under Castro is something you will not forget. It is a picture of a loving family made up of very wise and very strong people.
Nate Smith
Oct 18, 2012 Nate Smith rated it it was amazing
This book is great! It is amazing to see what other people have to go through. We take our rights for granted!
Scott Freeman
Nov 17, 2010 Scott Freeman rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-books, sequoyah
A nice memoir of growing up during the Revolution and under the control of Castro in Communist Cuba. Could be really beneficial for a middle-school audience.
Ana Gamonal
Goody easy read; wanted to see if child friendly so my daughter could read and learn more about our heritage, but did contain some purely adult content/context.
May 12, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really like the description of life in Castro's Cuba. I was a bit confused by the flow of time, but it didn't detract too much from the story.
Andrew Jenrich
Andrew Jenrich rated it it was amazing
Apr 19, 2014
Jeneca rated it it was amazing
May 25, 2012
Miss Strauss
Miss Strauss rated it really liked it
Sep 12, 2012
May 17, 2012 Vicki rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
Timeless truths about suppression and immigration of a boy and his family in 1950's Cuba- Great!
Rebecca rated it liked it
Feb 15, 2013
Diane rated it really liked it
Feb 04, 2010
Ireallyamrambo rated it it was amazing
Dec 10, 2010
G.oliver rated it it was amazing
Jul 11, 2015
Michael Collins
Michael Collins rated it really liked it
Jan 06, 2016
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