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Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy
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Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  718 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Carlos Eire's story of a boyhood uprooted by the Cuban Revolution quickly lures us in, as eleven-year-old Carlos and his older brother Tony touch down in the sun-dappled Miami of 1962-a place of daunting abundance where his old Cuban self must die to make way for a new, American self waiting to be born.In this enchanting new work, narrated in Eire's inimitable and lyrical
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Audio CD, 0 pages
Published November 4th 2010 by Tantor Audio (first published October 21st 2010)
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Janet It doesn't matter. They can be read in either order. These two books are brilliant.
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WarpDrive
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
It was sort of an OK book, but it just did not click.
Seemed to me pretty artificial, and pretty underwhelming too. Stopped reading it half-way.
Ann
May 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A continuation of Carlos Wire's story started in "Waiting for Snow in Havana" about his leaving Cuba as one of the 14,000 Pedro Pan children airlifted to the USA.

Although this was fairly engaging and I do feel great sympathy/empathy for what he endured as a child separated from his parents, in a land where everythinbg was different and he must transform himself,from "Carlos" into "Chuck", I still had a lot of frustration with the book. First of all, I felt that he was capitalizing on the success
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Caroline
Nov 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I honestly feel like I could have Carlos Eire sit in a McDonalds for a few hours, write an essay about his experience, and I would end up with a piece of writing that I would find totally beautiful and engrossing and profound. I love his style and prose that much.

Learning to Die in Miami picks roughly where Waiting for Snow in Havana leaves off: Carlos and his brother Tony's arrival in Florida after the Pedro Pan airlifts. The style is almost identical to the one Eire used in his first book, whi
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Magna Diaz
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book that brings us into the life of a child immigrant brought to America in 1961 for a better life and to await for his parents to leave Cuba. Carlos Eire the author, recounts how after Castro took over Cuba things began to change for the worse everyone. The United States brought 1400 Cuban children to US soil. The plan was to place these children in foster homes as they awaited for their parents to leave Cuba and reclaim them. However, Fidel Castro closed down all exits from Cuba. Life for C ...more
Lila Vogt
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read Waiting for Snow in Havana,so was familiar with Eire's work. This memoir is incredible. I had no idea that over 14,000 children were airlifted out of Cuba in the early 1960's, some as young as 3. Parents were desperate to get their children to a safe haven, hoping to be able to follow them. Many were never reunited, such as Carlos' father, who died in Cuba before being able to secure passage to leave. After 3 years, his mother was finally able to escape Fidel's Rule. He refers to pos ...more
Maria Puig
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The flash backs, forward, sideways, ups and downs drive me a little nuts toward the end. For someone who gave us so much detail of his 9 months living with Ricky and Lucy in Miami he sure omitted a lot toward the end of the book. Because there are no 4.5 stars I'll give him 5. His first one is his masterpiece and even though this one fell short half a star I still loved it. Swoosh!!
Nicole
Dec 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, latino
Fantastic memoir. Loved every page. Well written an understatement. Flows effortlessly back and forth through time - tying everything in- in a way that transcends time. Amazing what children, people, endure, and how they can continue on, overcome, and even shine. I loved this book.
Deedie Gustavson
These two memoirs (also read "Waiting for Snow in Havana") were excellent. I had never heard of Operation Pedro Pan, which airlifted 14000 Cuban children to the US in 1962.
Jane(Pixie)
I enjoyed the audio. Wonder what Mr Eire accent is like? Time well spent.
Olivia
Nov 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In an earlier update I promised I would review this book so here I am. I really hate this book but I will do my best to keep my review short as possible.

I'm an absolute sucker for immigrant/refugee stories. I always enjoy seeing people who've come from less than desirable situations rise to the top and pursue the American dream. As this book was also an autobiography I thought I would give it a try.

Background: Carlos Eire and his brother, Tony were airlifted out of Cuba during Operation Peter Pa
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Linda
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished the first volume in Carlos Eire's memoirs, Waiting for Snow in Havana. I had to purchase this book right away to learn more about how Eire went for a privileged life in Cuba, to living in an impoverished immigrant neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago, to go on to become a Professor at Yale.

I've now finished this second volume of Eire's memoirs. He writes from deep within his soul of the emotional difficulty of adjusting to life in the US and the many challenges he faces on
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Paul Schulzetenberg
Disclaimer: I have a distant personal connection to this author.

I really liked the first of Eire's books, Waiting for Snow in Havana, and I eagerly looked forward to this book. This book chronologically picks up right where Snow left off, as Eire lands in Miami after his flight from Cuba. But make no mistake, this is not a rehash of Snow, nor should it be.

Snow is a charming book told with dark undertones, Die is a darker book told with charming undertones. This grows organically from the topic
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Catherine
Carlos Eire’s first memoir, Waiting for Snow in Havana, ends with Carlos (age 11) and his brother Tony (14) departing Havana as part of Operation Pedro Pan in 1962, while their parents stay behind awaiting permission to leave. This coming of age memoir begins as the plane lands in Miami. Carlos and Tony are first placed in separate private homes, both with Jewish families who treat them very well. When their parents’ planned departure from Cuba is put on hold, the refugee authorities send the bo ...more
Jay
Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir

Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy is primarily about how the author dealt with the pain and joy of leaving the old and embracing the new. This was the plight of Carlos Eire when he was sent by his parents from Cuba to Florida after Castro took power. Unlike many who refused to adapt, thinking they would soon return to Cuba, Eire made every effort to cope with the challenges of his several involuntary moves. Having had many previous childhood experiences in Cuba, Eire relishe
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Bob
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
Following Waiting for Snow in Havana, these very frank confessions add up to a story of religious conversion, told in completely secular terms. The two books have many things to recommend them: boyhood adventures that rank with Huckleberry Finn or Penrod, vivid descriptions of life for the wealthy in pre-Castro Havana, a dysfunctional family narrative, and an enlightening view of the plight of Cuban refugees in the United States. Central to it all is the vision of heaven, the eternal in the pre ...more
Raquel
May 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, may
The memoir of a boy who arrived in America in the early 1960s as part of Cuba's Operation Peter Pan. Over 14,000 Cuban children were airlifted out of the country and placed in American foster homes as their parents lost everything and feared their children would fall into the clutches of Communists.

The story of how Carlos and his brother endured this ripping apart of their family is fascinating, but toward the end the book started to fall apart for me. After his mother finally arrived from Cuba
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Vivian
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I imagine my parents are calm, even happy. After all, they've been so desperate to catapult us off the island, for our own protection. It doesn't occur to me that they might be weeping and wailing, gnashing their teeth, and rending their garments." The true story of two Cuban boys. Brothers swept away from their parents with hope for a better life after the revolution. Before the world as we knew changed and became Castrolandia. Eire's is one of many stories, fourteen thousand and sixty-four, t ...more
Emily
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although the narrative felt rushed and a bit disjointed in the last two or three chapters, I loved this book! The beginning was hilarious and the audiobook's reader did a good job of interpreting the author's sense of wonder and disbelief about his new world.
I too arrived from Cuba at eleven years of age, three years after Carlos made the trip. Fortunately for me, I arrived with both parents and did not share many of the hardships faced by Carlos and Tony. Nonetheless, so much of the story was
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Susan Hester
Memoir of one of the 14,000 Cuban children airlifted to the U.S. in the early Castro days (early 1960's). Sacrificed by their parents so that they could be "free," the children were placed into foster homes, orphanages and/or with very distant relatives. This was informative as to the experiences of one boy (who became quite successful) and his brother, but I found the writing terrible, especially toward the middle to end. I don't require books to be linear, but this one jumped around so much so ...more
Helen
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites-lately
This book is a continuation of Waiting for Snow in Havana, the story of Carlos Eire, one of the 14,000 children airlifted out of Cuba in 1958.

While this book is non-fiction - it reads like a novel and chronicles the life of a privledged 8 year old trasformed by the experience of loss of everything - parents, culture and priviledge.

I didn't know anything (really) about the 14,000 children airlifted out of Cuba to Miami before I read Waiting for Snow - this book picks up where that one left off. T
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Mary
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book so close to reading Waiting For Snow In Havana was a mistake. I went from seeing beautiful Havana through a bright, innocent child's eyes, to seeing Miami and the immigrant experience through the eyes of the common immigrant. The immigrant experience is brutal, frightening and extremely disappointing after expecting to come to a country where the " streets are paved with gold". This voice was difficult after reading the same character's optimistic voice, a voice filled with a f ...more
Dorinda
Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Continuing the story begun with "...Snow in Havana" Carlos and his brother are sent to the US in the Pedro Pan Airlift of 14,000 unaccompanied children, only a few with any families or contacts in the US ready to receieve them. Carlos and Tony pass from good to bad foster homes to finally join a recently immigated uncle in Illinois and ultimiately back into their mother's care when she finally reaches the US. The the repeated loss/death, as the author lived this life, provides another way to loo ...more
Faith
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book at the airport and almost didn't take it with me. This read was both humorous, and, at times, horrifying; an emotionally quirky biography focusing on how loss (described as "death") plus faith and determination make us who we are. Carlos Eire's sudden rift from family, as he is airlifted to Miami, with his brother, during the Cuban Crisis, begins a journey from bad to better, from better to worse, and back again. As I read, I kept wondering: Who is the Carlos (Charles, Chuck) i ...more
Alicia
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Becoming a refugee overnight is hard on anyone especially brothers Tony and Carlos Eire. Carlos Eire and his brother were brought over as children from Cuba and airlifted during operation Pedro Pan to Miami, Florida. Carlos' autobiography discusses the difficulty living is a foreign land, living in foster homes, attending different schools and life away from their parents. The author is torn between his Cuban heritage and attempting to "fit in." He faces discrimination. He goes effortlessy back ...more
Gerrie
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The experience of reading this book is definitely enhanced by having started with "Snow." Much of the character development and historical background weren't reiterated here, which was good for a sequel but could be limiting as an intro.

While I don't disagree with the reviewers who were distracted by Eire's hopping around, for me this underscored that his emotional evolution was neither consistent nor linear.

Eire has survived a most challenging and unorthodox upbringing. His process for identi
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Gail
Jan 16, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-worthwhile
What a BIG disappointment! I so loved Carlos Eire's first book "Waiting for Snow in Havana" that when I saw his current book in the library, I couldn't wait to read it. It started out good but then deteriorated. His first book had such gorgeous imagery and was so beautifully written. Not the case here. Eire's excessive use of metaphors drove me crazy. His constant jumping back and forth from past to future, at first, was interesting and then became irritating.
I slogged through 300 pages (there'
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Alicia
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cuba
As one of the 14,000+ children airlifted from Cuba without parents in the early 1960s, I really identified and understood this book. 11 yr old Carlos had to "die" and become Charles/Chuck/Charlie to survive the translocation at such a tender age. He had to put his parents in the "vault of oblivion" and learn to survive in a "new world" as we all did. I don't think you could appreciate this book without having read "Waiting for Snow in Havana", his first book, which is an even better story. This ...more
Karen
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting autobiography written by one of the 14,000 children who were part of the 1962 Pedro Pan airlift-- a part of history that I had never been aware of. The book follows his life as he learns to become an American and we get to look at American life through the eyes of a child from Cuba-- which, honestly, opened my eyes to some of the freedoms we have that I have taken for granted!

Eire is a history and religious studies professor at Yale and his writing style reflects that. I enjoyed h
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Alison
Nov 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really, for me this was a three and a half star book. I thought it was not as well written as Waiting for Snow in Havana. I kept thinking "Carlos should have had a better editor; this would have been more effective if it had been more concise." Still, it is impossible not to be moved by this story of an eleven-year-old boy who was separated from his family in the aftermath of the Cuban revolution. There are passages that vividly capture the absolute panic of feeling utterly cut-off from anyone w ...more
Cynthia Karl
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, a continuation of "Waiting for Snow in Havana", chronicles the author's life after he, along with 14,000 other children, were air lifted from Cuba after Castro's revolution. Eire describes very well the conditions in which he had to live and forthrightly expresses his emotions. Much of the book is heart-rending; that Eire succeeded in life as well as he did is amazing. Unfortunately, his brother air lifted at the same time did not succeed. This is not only an interesting memoir but is ...more
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This is a magnificent book by a great man. 1 1 Aug 25, 2016 08:46AM  
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