~ This article contains spoilers ~
There are so many amazing people in this world you didn’t know that made a difference until you read a book about them and about their lives. If you are lucky, you’ll get to read the book while they are still alive and you still have a chance (even though very slim) to meet them. This book is an exceptional collection of memories of a time long past, from a country I have never been to nor have too much knowledge about – Cuba. It’s a book filled with unapologetic observations of past decisions and experiences.
I have to mention that reading memoirs and (auto-)biographies is not my daily go-to genre, but as this book got to me, I had no choice. And boy, am I glad I got to read such book!
First of all, it’s an indie book, i.e., written and published by an independent author (not through a publishing house). I have read A LOT of indie books to realise that A LOT of these so-called independent writers do not put too much time into checking their grammar or checking for possible typos. That’s not the case here. You can realise from the very first sentences that it’s been carefully edited in order to make justice to the great woman who has written it! It was actually really touching to see that there are still people who do want to make perfect things and they do not accept anything less than that!
The story was easy to follow, as the way the author told her story was clear, concise, and even funny! By the time the first chapter ended, I already felt like I was listening to a very dear friend during a slow afternoon talk. What I did like a lot about the book was that it wasn’t „too much”, you know what I mean? There weren’t things that were dragging or overexplained/over-described. It followed a quite linear timeline (well.. it started with the moment she left Cuba, but everything afterward was told in a way to lead up to that moment). She presented how she fell in love with a ship captain and left East Germany (after the wall was built!) for Cuba; how she got pregnant and the challenges of being a mother (with a husband who was constantly gone to sea) in a country and culture completely different from what she was used to.
The way she tells about the food and products shortages in the ’60s Cuba creates a vivid image of a life I have never experienced and it’s hard to believe it existed. Also, it made me feel grateful for how things are nowadays – we have more than plenty to buy and experience, and we have a lot more freedom than we used to.
The work she has done in Cuva as a sex educator in a country completely oblivious to how things were and how diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and abortions could have been avoided, was very appreciated by normal people; quite a lot less by the higher-ups in command, but that’s a given when they feel they don’t have complete control anymore.
The book has pictures as well, giving the readers the chance to put a face to the names.
Overall, it’s a very warm book and it’s extremely well written, so if you’ll ever want to pick up a good book to read, you can find it here.