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The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival
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The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  475 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
One of Argentina's 30,000 "disappeared," Alicia Partnoy was abducted from her home by secret police and taken to a concentration camp where she was tortured, and where most of the other prisoners were killed. Her writings were smuggled out of prison and published anonymously in human rights journals. The Little School is Alicia Partnoy's memoir of her disappearance and imp ...more
ebook, 144 pages
Published September 1st 1998 by Cleis Press (first published January 1st 1986)
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Alicia is a survivor of the Argentine dictatorship of the 1970's who was taken without legal process to a secret prison and tortured there. In Argentina these secret prisons are often called "concentration camps" but to me that term is being used for emotional weight and is inaccurate. Camps are open air, hold large numbers of inmates, kill with disease and forced labor as much as by violence, and their existence is publicly acknowledged to maximize terror. None of this was true in the Argentine ...more
Most readers are confused by the shift in the narrative voice, and it's best to approach these stories as testimonial vignettes of the Little School, a detention center and torture chamber emblematic of many during Argentina's "dirty war." Partnoy remembers and recollects her experiences as a political prisoner, and her writing serves as an act of resistance and political testimony (this served as evidence against Videla). While many of the guards were exonerated of their torturous deeds, Partno ...more
Sonia Gosetti
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very short and quick read. I enjoyed the small chapters which read almost as diary entries or memories. Reading it as different moments and memories allows one to overlook the tense changes as well as the character changes.

What I did not like about the book was the number of people. Names were thrown around very often and it was hard to keep track of who was who. However, there is a little glossery at the end of the book which was helpful for gaining backstory and more detail on the people's
Tess Taylor
3.5- I must be honest, I only read (or rather, listened) this story for a history class I was taking. It's not something that would normally appeal to me, but Partnoy's tale of triumph in the face of huge adversity is both inspiring and heartbreaking. The writing is pretty good, it's just not my cup of tea.

Word to the wise: Avoid the audiobook. The narration is done by a woman named Yazmin Venegas, who has a beautiful voice, but is sometimes difficult to understand through a thick accent.
Apr 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Argentina has often been a hotbed for political activism. Even those unfamiliar with foreign governments know of Juan Perón and his wife Eva, immortalized in Andrew Lloyd Webber's catchy musical, Evita. For many of us, the concept of a military coup is unfathomable ~ such actions are relegated to footnotes in history books, dates learned in school and forgotten once we're tested on them. The fear that someone could barge into our homes and take us prisoner against our wills is unfamiliar to Amer ...more
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I noted that many reviewers said that this book was choppy and confusing. I did not find that to be the case, but I did read it in Spanish the first time, so that could be why.

I was introduced to this book when I did a report on "La Guerra Sucia" and "Los desaparecidos" in Argentina for my conversational Spanish class. After I gave my presentation, my professor told me that if I was interested in the subject, this book was one of the only survivor accounts of that particular war.

Upon reading th
Rachel (Life of a Female Bibliophile)
This short fictionalized novel tells the story of Alicia’s disappearance during the Dirty War in Argentina which was a period of
state terrorism against political rebels. The military and security forces lead guerrilla warfare against these progressive rebels’, and anyone believed to be associated with socialism. Our narrator recounts her experiences while being held at “The Little School”; a detention center controlled by the military regime. Through these short vignettes, we gain glimpses of t
Amy Lenord
I really loved reading this book despite the sadness and the tragedy the author faced. I am horrified, yet fascinated with the histories of Latin American countries and I searched out a book like this not to enjoy, but to educate myself. Although Partnoy is sharing immense darkness with us, she is so very human and miraculously finds a way to share with us the minutia that the human mind focuses on in search of comfort, to stave off insanity and to preserve that which makes us human.

The Little S
This is a really quick read, I finished it in an hour and a half. The author skips back and forth between first person and second person and between talking about herself and then other people but not making it clear which person she is talking about.

I wouldn't have read this if I didn't have to for one of my classes. I don't think I would have been able to get through this one so easily if this was the last book out of all the war, rape camp, depressing books we read in that class.

One thing I
It is tough to review such thought-provoking true tales of misery and oppression without feeling badly about not giving it the full stars. My only reason for rating it 3, is because I had the opportunity to read several selections from this book in Spanish that seemed to be superior in their literary style. I can not remember if this book had first been translated into English, or published as such, since I imagine they were originally written in Spanish. If that is the case, this is most likely ...more
Chris Cook
I read this one for my masters degree program. It was intense, but very enlightening. I had heard of the Disappeared, and had even listened numerous times to the U2 song about the Mothers of the Disappeared, but I had never heard of this account from a survivor. Some of the torture they went through was excruciating to read, and hard to take. But I'm glad I've read it, so I can speak more knowledgeably on the subject.
ok, i'm going to go out and say the awful thing first: there are some major issues with the craft of this book. it's half-brilliant, half-cringe-inducing from a technical standpoint.

the content is difficult and important. The Little School is a series of vignettes dealing with an Argentine concentration camp. the book is moving, funny, startling. it asks questions that have no answers, but should.
Tianna Mignogna
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The Goodreads page numbers are inaccurate as usual, but I really enjoyed this book. It was such a fast read - really only about 90 pages condensed. The vivid descriptions and poetry are amazing. This was probably the best book I've been assigned to read in college so far. Hiighly recommend. The only thing that didn't earn the 5 stars was the fact that I kept questioning how certain characters were related to the narrator because there wasn't as much back story as there could've been.
Rick Perez
Sep 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I first read this book in the late 1980s when working on my degree for Latin American Studies. It is only one of many books on this subject, however Alicia Partnoy's voice is so clear that the reader is present in the concentration camp - as frightening as this may be. Her simple human beauty also shines through the pages of this very sad tale - she may show anger and cynicism, but is never overcome by hate.
Corina Prince
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a sad yet compelling book! It's sad to think that at the time these events took place in a completely different country, the victims stated were all around my age. How some survived baffles me! They had a tremendous amount of hope and he'd on as long as they could. I truly wish I could visit the author and just be able to tell her I a complete stranger is there for her...
Sarah Harbin
Apr 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is based on an Argentinian woman's experience in a sort of torture camp and then in prison. It is simply written and is a little disorienting because it takes you into a normalized perspective on captivity. It is a quick read (i read it on the bus this afternoon)and pretty informative of a pretty common (world wide)experience.
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very quick read, very profound topic. The change in point of view didn't distract me as it did some others, for I didn't think the point was so much who things were happening to, but rather that they happened at all. I recommend it for anyone interested in Latin America.
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Compelling story, but written poorly. Constant tense switching, switching the main characters in each chapter so that you have no idea which one you're following, and shifts from the first person to the third person frequently.
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another haunting book. This one takes place during Argentina's Dirty War. Alicia Partnoy writes about her experience in the "Little School", an ironically-named concentration camp where she is kept for about three months. Each chapter is short but packs a punch.
Apr 12, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It looked so good, but it was disappointing. I didn't particularly like the writing style, and I didn't think that the character development was as good as it could have been. It had potential, but just never drew me in. However, it is a sad part of history that I never knew about.
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was doing research for a Spanish paper. This book looked so interesting and good that I sat down and read it at the library. It took me around an hour. It was a quick read and very informative. I recommend people go to the library and learn a little about Argentina's history.
Oct 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012

Vignettes about the missing in Argentina, many teenagers who'd been reported killed in confrontations with police while being outright murdered. The final tally of the author's cell mates is devastating.
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Was the most amazing book. Very easy to read. But it is a very sad a scary book, so don't think it is an uplifting type of book. I guess you can look at it this way the author was one of many that "disappeared" in the Dirty War.
Jun 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heartbreaking account of the author's experiences as a "disappeared" person in Argentina - very short, powerful and poetic.
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-books
Stunning. Still speechless. Read it, because we need to know.
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The pain of the desaparecidos is brought to life in this little gem that reads like real memories.
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very inspiring story about a women's survival in Argentina.
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A requirement for my English class but I enjoyed the book and read it a day. The paragraphs are quick and engaging.
Michele Abrams Lehn
Powerful and poetic. A quick read.
Justin Hall
Interesting parts.
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