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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, searing and enthralling
Carmen Aguirre is a Vancouver playwright whose family fled Chile shortly after the brutal dictator Pinochet seized power in 1973.

Both of her parents had been university professors, who had supported Chile's democratically-elected president Salvador Allende.

Suspecting them of subversion, soldiers came to their home shortly following the military...
Published on Feb. 7 2012 by sean s.

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Can't believe it won Canada Reads 2012, maybe it was a thin year. As long as your expectations are of decent writing about a coming of age story then you will not be disappointed. However, do not expect to have much knowledge of the political situation in South American during the 80's. I did come away with more geograhical knowledge of South American and once I decided...
Published 22 months ago by JanL


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, searing and enthralling, Feb. 7 2012
By 
sean s. (montreal) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (Paperback)
Carmen Aguirre is a Vancouver playwright whose family fled Chile shortly after the brutal dictator Pinochet seized power in 1973.

Both of her parents had been university professors, who had supported Chile's democratically-elected president Salvador Allende.

Suspecting them of subversion, soldiers came to their home shortly following the military coup, but her parents weren't there. Carmen recounts what happened to her, then 5 years old, and her 4-year-old sister Ale:

"A few days earlier a soldier had knocked on our door and threatened to arrest my mother for wearing pants. In the days following the coup, a warning was issued that women would no longer wear the pants in Chile. There were already women in jail for not wearing skirts, and women in the streets with their pants torn to shreds by soldiers...

The soldiers pushed Ale and me up against the wall of the house... `Oh well', he said, `I guess it's the firing squad for you two.' The other soldiers laughed too, as if that was the funniest thing they'd ever heard.

`Turn around', he ordered Ale and me. I took her shoulders and turned her so she faced the wall. Then I did the same. `Hands up. Both of you,' the soldiers yelled. Ale raised her arms. I did too. I heard my teeth chattering in my skull, and then the soldier's voice from very far away: `Ready. Aim. Fire.' I was shaking so hard I thought I'd fall down. Ale and I stood there, swaying in the mud, as the soldiers got in their vehicles and drove away.'"

Her family fled to Canada as refugees shortly thereafter, but five years later, when Carmen was still only 11 years old, her parents made the heart-rending decision to return to South America to courageously support the Resistance.

Something Fierce is a brilliant, searing and enthralling memoir of Carmen's childhood and adolescence in those terrifying circumstances, and of her own eventual commitment to the cause of justice.

Her trenchant insight will remind you of Naomi Klein; her literary skill echoes that of Rawi Hage; and the unforgettable imagery of childhood in the midst of fascist brutality recalls the film Pan's Labyrinth. But Aguirre's voice is uniquely her own, incisive and resilient. 5 stars!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Substantial and a good story to boot, Feb. 9 2012
This review is from: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (Paperback)
To follow beside Carmen as she grew up, as she experienced things too intense for fully equipped adults, was nail-bitting, heart breaking, and sometimes, funny. It's an interesting perspective of politics and family from a fantastic writer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent story, Jan. 1 2012
This review is from: Something Fierce (Hardcover)
This book is very well written, captivating story and well worth reading. It is in the Canada Reads selection this year, so I am interested to see how it does. It really makes me appreciate all we take for granted in Canada. But there is no preaching, just a great story that speaks to your soul.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written Memoire about South American revolutionary (1970's through 2000), March 21 2012
By 
Karen Dudzinski (Aurora, ON CANADA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Something Fierce (Hardcover)
I purchased this book as part of my Canada Reads 2012 package and so far it's the one I've most enjoyed. Carmen Aguire writes a captivating history of her life as both the daugher of a Revolutionary, and then as a member of the Resistance herself. I learned a lot more than I ever did in school regarding the politics of Bolivia, Argentina and Chile in this era and am greatful for her passionate insights.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forced to read it but, actually liked it!, May 8 2013
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This review is from: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (Paperback)
I had to read this as part of a university class, I was not looking forward to it. I ended up liking the book a surprising amount! It was funny, insightful and heartbreaking all at the same time. I was disappointed at how it ended but, not everything ends well. Interesting book to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something Fiercely Wonderful, April 30 2012
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This review is from: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (Paperback)
What a bright, intelligent, funny but moving story about people we never get a chance to know in "regular" media. What I found most interesting was the contrast in the lives of the author and her family with all the people who claim to be revolutionaries but whose most revolutionary activities involve signing internet petitions, reading Adbusters, marching around the block once with a sign once in a while, attending lectures at the local university and loudly declaiming to all within earshot about the corruption in modern capitalist life while driving to the gas station and the mall. (Count me in, I hasten to add!) It's encouraging and inspiring to be reminded that there have been people and still are people who put their lives on the line to bring about change in places where there's a very good chance they will be tortured or killed for doing so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, honest, witty, and very memorable., April 7 2012
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This review is from: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (Paperback)
This was a very interesting read. Honest, witty, and very memorable. It invokes feelings of sadness, anger, and fear, but doesn't drag the reader into a pit of sympathy. Much more engaging than the average fiction novel, as this was very real. It is well written.

The story takes place during Operation Condor, a time of collusion between many brutal, even fascist military regimes in South America.

Carmen takes us on a harrowing journey through Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. This is definitely not a "lonely planet" guide, though I think that term rang true for this revolutionary at times. But it did offer some unique insights into those countries and cultures.

The political slant I don't completely agree with, and I would have liked more humorous breaks throughout the book.

It will open your senses, and may open or even break your heart. It won't break your budget though, as the paperback is selling on Amazon now for less than underwear cost in Argentina back then :)

I am glad I read this book, and thankful I have not had to endure such oppression.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing view of life in the undergound, Feb. 14 2012
By 
Andrea Maenza (Toronto, Ontario) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (Paperback)
An amazing story, and rare insight to the world of the 'underground.' It's doubly dramatic because the dangerous life the reader tags along on is also that of a teenage girl, who is equally passionate about the basic human rights of the disenfrachised, as she is about the hot boy in the tight jeans in her math class. I'm the same age as Aguirre, so it was also interesting for me because while she living in constant fear, sometimes all alone, looking after younger siblings in various safe houses throughout South America, I was living the boring middle class life that was her public image. But even though I'm same age as the writer, I think anyone can be just as enthralled by this story. It also really made me think about the lives that so many immigrant families in Canada left behind... how many janitors, waitresses, nurses, teachers or journalists left behind dramatically different lives than what they have now. There are so many stories we don't know.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Canada Reads, Oct. 31 2013
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This review is from: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (Paperback)
I had listened to conversation about the book on Canada Reads on CBC,
I found it a wonderful read.
Thanks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars what the world never read in the papers or heard in the news, Sept. 23 2013
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This is a true story that tells of someone whose family devoted so much of their lives to save a country that had almost been destroyed with the blessing and the encouragement of the United States and the World Bank, among other powerful entities. A powerful story!
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Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter
Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter by Carmen Aguirre (Paperback - 2012)
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