Celine's Reviews > Before We Were Free

Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez
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's review
Jan 24, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: advisory-12-quarter-2, advisory-12th
Read in January, 2012

Before We Were Free
By Julia Alvarez
192 pp USA
Laurel Leaf, $6.99
ISBN: 978-0-440-23784-6

“I want my children to be free, no matter what. Promise me you’ll spread your wings and fly,” her father said to Anita. Unfortunately, flying would mean going against the authorities of the government, authorities who clip wings, in a rough battle.

This book is a triumph for freedom despite great lost. Anita, who lives in the Dominican Republic, struggles with the country’s despair.The dictatorship, the monarchy, have fed on the freedom of its people. People disappear everyday at the magic of the secret police and they are truly enslaved in their hearts. Anita’s family is trying so very hard to change this, in hopes of overthrow their ruler. But what will happen to them? Will they succeed? How much are they willing to sacrifice? Juggling all this political mess, Anita at the same time has to go through her own typical-teenager problems alongside everyone else. She starts to find interest in boys and soon has to cope with her growing mind and body. Can she make it through this jumbled mess and declare herself a free person, live a free life?

This book took me on a sorrowful but victorious journey. It has brought the idea of sacrificing for the sake of a country. Honestly, I would never have been competent of such heroic duties, especially at such a rebellious and obnoxious age. It questioned me the capabilities of the human mind. It has allowed me to access everything from a young girl’s life, carrying burden she shouldn’t have to be worrying about to her close knit family. Julia Alvarez has a wonderful gift of bringing hidden messages and tainted memories to readers through her story and embedded thoughtful statements about our world, our countries, our governments, our environments, and who we are.

I would recommend this book to anyone because it is very touching and meaningful to read. It is actually not as political as it may sound and is not boring at all.

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