This is Frank Mederos' true life story as he told it to Patti Sheehy who wrote the book. And what a story it is! We meet Frank when he is a boy, spending time fishing with his wise grandfather. And through his eyes, we see how Cuba transforms in the 1960s through Castro's regime. Frank is a bright boy and he excels at school. This leads him to be chosen for various government programs meant to train the young ones under the communist regime. He is drafted in the army and promoted to Special Forces and becomes one of their star soldiers. However, his grandfather and parents have taught him to think for himself and he does not believe Castro's propaganda.
Frank falls in love with Magda and we experience the angst, beauty and torture of first-love. When Magda and her family leave for America he wants to escape to be with her. This part of the story was suspenseful and thrilling as Frank uses all his training, skills and wits to escape. The chances are slim as many Cubans died trying to cross to international waters, but Frank uses his leadership skills too. At 19 years-of-age, I was amazed at his intelligence, quick-thinking, goodness, courage and maturity that I fell in love with him too.
Patti Sheehy does a excellent job of bringing to life the Cuban culture and Frank's experiences as a teenager. There was never a boring moment in this book. I had tears several times as I read it, especially at the end. And I was happy to learn of the sequel Stalked that I promptly purchased as soon as I finished this book.
If you like reading books set in Latin American, with an incredible true-to-life protagonist, I strongly recommend this gem of a book.
|Patti Sheehy with real-life protagonist Frank Mederos