Liza Gilbert's Reviews > The Red Umbrella

The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
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Oct 01, 10

bookshelves: bfya2011, young-adult

This book was marketed very poorly. From the cover to the story itself, the whole book would have done better as adult memoir/fiction for the women's book club crowd.

The story of two Cuban children sent to America to escape Castro's reign of terror in the early 60s was oddly sweet and idealistic. Gonzalez hints at the really bad stuff, but mostly stays away from it.

The red umbrella itself as a device was used perfectly - simply and sparsely. Each time the umbrella was used, I felt glad that I was reading the book.

However, the author's tone inadvertently and indirectly comes off as someone looking back in time and not on the contemporary (1960s contemporary) problems of a teenage girl. Seriously, I think this book would work very well in a predominantly Christian female book group.

As for teen appeal, I think there is zero. I enjoyed this book as someone with a degree in Spanish who has traveled abroad, but I can't imagine selling this book to a teenager. Also, I find the cover gorgeous as an adult, but I would have steered clear of the book based on the cover as a teenager.

Good book, wrong marketing.
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