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Dirty Blonde and Half-Cuban

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3.8  ·  Rating details ·  169 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Based on the wildly popular, semi-autobiographical Havana Honey series published by Salon.com, Dirty Blonde and Half-Cuban is a gritty portrait of one woman's determination to infiltrate modern Cuba and find the father she has never known.
While on her search, privileged American Alysia Briggs ends up broke and alone in Havana. She's then forced to adopt the life of the ji
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 22nd 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published May 3rd 2005)
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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, fiction
Alysia Briggs grew up the only child of an American diplomat serving all over the world. When her mother is dying of cancer when Alysia is only a child, she makes Alysia promise to go to Cuba and find José Antonio, her real father. Years later, Alysia finally talks to her Aunt June, her mother's sister, who confirms the truth: she has a whole family in Cuba she never knew of, but they know her. She was a baby and a toddler spending a lot of time with her Cuban family and father before the Briggs ...more
Tejas Janet
Dec 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Would give 3.5 stars if possible. Uneven but interesting. At times insightful, at times melodramatic. Might have been stronger as a nonfiction story rather than fictionalized, semi-autobiographical.
Cristi Romney Espinosa
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
This book was highly recommended to me by a friend from book club, and fellow Goodreader. I was excited to start it, because when someone feels so passionate about a book, I'm always intrigued and want to read for myself what the fuss is about.
This book took hold of me from the very beginning. The descriptions were right up my alley. The metaphors and similes, long and descriptive, were perfect. The story itself was also intriguing, A 13 yr old whose mother dies of cancer...my story exactly. On
...more
Erin
Feb 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
A seriously interesting and surprising look at life in modern Cuba. Told from the perspective of a young American woman living in Havana on a student visa while searching for her father. Gritty and funny and sad and hopeful.
Seferina Limones
Dec 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When I first bought this book, I was just interested in it because of the title and the cover art. As I read it, however, I was captivated. This story is a womans struggle in her homeland to find her father and learn of her true culture. Seeing Cuba through her perspective has made me add it to my list of countryies to visit. The way she describes how difficult life is for the average Cuban made me realize that people who complain about life in America are just plain ignorant. I suggest this boo ...more
Sherese
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Although this is technically fiction my understanding from the jacket of the novel is that this is semiautobiographical novel. If this is true, then this inside look at life in Cuba for educated high level skilled women who must basically prostitute themselves to foreign nationals in order to provide for their families is disturbing.

What's done well in this novel is presenting both good and bad of "Cuban version of Socialism" without making any judgements. Everything else I found a little less
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Dylan Vernon
Excellent for a first novel. Gives a very realistic down to earth view of life in Cuba...with a focus on the challenges of the sex economy. Also good for those of us with an interest in 'finding your family' stories.
Cheryl Schmidt
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this - perhaps becuase Paul and I travelled around Cuba a few years ago, living with the locals, and saw a small window into the "real" Cuba, and so much was as the book portrays it. A people very proud of their country, and yet so poor and missing so many basics.
Rikki Landry
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
There were times that I couldn't put it down, and other times that I couldn't get through a page without being bored. I was really interested in the story line, I just didn't enjoy reading the book. It became more of a chore so I can't give this book more than a rating of 'it was ok'
Laurie
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Book was written during the time I was traveling to Havana myself. Interesting story. Fairly believable knowing what I do about Cuba but some things perhaps a stretch.

Travel to Cuba and get to know the local people so you can see for yourself what it's really like there.
Laura
Aug 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Although the writing style is sometimes melodramatic, the setting and the central issue (highly-educated Cuban women who are forced to turn to prostitution, or sex tourism, to survive) makes this an important and interesting novel.
Joseph
Apr 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Was an interesting look at what people will do to survive in a country run by sex tourism. I could relate to the main character's lack of relating to both her cuban heritage and her american heritage. interesting read.
Alicia
Aug 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: cuba
This was not an easy to read book about the jineteras (call girls for foreign tourists) in Cuba. They are educated, some are doctors, but find the best way to make real money (not Cuban "chavitos" or CUC, which are almost worthless)from the world wide tourist trade.
Ron
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not great literature ... not a great story, but wonderful texture of life in Cuba and the Cuban people.
Mary
Aug 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of women's fiction and those curious about Cuba
Shelves: chica-lit
This is one of the most beautifully written books I've read in a really long time. When it ended, I was devastated because I didn't want the story to end!
Jacqueline
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Julio
Aug 20, 2012 is currently reading it
So far ( just page 38) I am liking the writer's style. And also so far she has been right on the money regarding "cubanisms"
Alicia Kaufman
Jul 07, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was an interesting look into a world I knew nothing about. I have no idea how truthful it is, but it sure makes me wonder...
Anna
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Loved this book - although it is fiction, it reads like an autobiography. Fascinating picture of life in Cuba and the moral ambiguity involved in surviving.
Vickie
Sep 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
learned a lot about modern day cuba
Michal
Aug 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Good book
Kelli Mckinney
A good book, but a little disturbing. NOT for young readers.
Deborah
Jul 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: annie
based on a true story so it will blow your face off with what goes on in cuba. sometimes, just sometimes miss wixon get a tad annoying...but you should definitely read this
Crystal
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
American girl goes to Cuba in search of birth father; experiences poverty, the struggles of the citizens, but discovers new family...and what family means.
Juanita Buitrago
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This took me a while to get through and the ending felt predictable, but I really enjoyed this book. Be warned: you might miss a few things if you don't speak Spanish. Still worth a read though!
Elaine Harber
rated it it was ok
Jan 04, 2016
Paige
rated it liked it
Jan 03, 2011
Bjeff121
rated it liked it
Jul 16, 2015
Nicole Falls
rated it really liked it
Jan 11, 2010
Gretchen
rated it really liked it
Mar 13, 2010
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I'm Lisa Wixon, the author of the award-winning novel DIRTY BLONDE AND HALF-CUBAN (HarperCollins/Rayo) and its Spanish-language translation CASI RUBIA EN LAS ISLA DEL DESEO.

My opinions and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, Forbes, USA Today, World Hum/Travel Channel and elsewhere.
More about Lisa Wixon
“My landlord is blase' about the crisis and hands me a newspaper. It isn't for reading. This evening, I decide, I'm not going to be Cuban. I grab my passport from the closet and make for the nearest hotel bathroom.” 2 likes
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