Something Fierce Hardcover – Apr 18 2011
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"This extraordinary memoir is long overdue. I recommend it to everyone who loves life and needs to know what some give up so life is possible." (Margaret Randall, author of "To Change the World: My Years in Cuba" 2011-02-07)
"A moving, heart-racing journey through the political landscape of South America during the 1970s and 1980s, told by a brave daughter of the Chilean resistance. Something Fierce is an inspiration to anyone who strives to live a life of passion and purpose." (Camilla Gibb 2011-02-28)
"Something Fierce is energetic, funny and dark, thoughtful and moving, told from the perspective of a girl growing into womanhood in a household where to be in the resistance was always to be poised between life and death." (Myrna Kostash, author of "The Prodigal Daughter" 2011-02-28)
"Aguirre's writing is, indeed, something fierce. That she has finally told this story is a triumph." (Karen Connelly, author of "Burmese Lessons" 2011-07-03)
"Aguirre has written a fascinating, warts-and-all portrait of herself, her family, and South America. The book is a brave document, written by someone who is clearly no stranger to bravery." (Quill & Quire 2011-04-15)
"Carmen writes like someone who knows how it feels to exhale with no certainty that another breath will follow...The stories that fill this book feel like the stories of several lives, not the adventurous, exhilarating and harrowing adolescence and early adulthood of one extraordinary person." (National Post 2011-05-13)
"The years of [Carmen Aguirre's] tumultuous teens are evocatively detailed in her first book, Something Fierce, a new memoir that illuminates what it’s like to come of age amid terror. What it is most certainly not is a political treatise or a book about heroism or martyrdom. What you get is a brutally honest and wryly funny story, told through the eyes of a girl young enough to yearn for cork-soled platforms and steal kisses with boys." (Georgia Straight 2011-05-10)
"A coming-of-age story that blends birthday parties and puppy love with indoctrination in the tradecraft of subversion: how to arrange the delivery of secret documents, how to lose a police tail, how to lead a double life." (Toronto Star 2011-07-10)
"[Carmen Aguierre's] story is the personal experience of a brave young woman evolving her understanding of herself and her place in the world, told with passion, personal insight, rich detail and humour...Something Fierce is raw, courageously honest and funny; an insightful journey into the formation of a revolutionary soul." (Francisca Zentilli Globe & Mail 2011-06-28)
"It’s a spellbinding, important, informative and wildly entertaining story. Aguirre’s playwriting background shows in the active scenes. Her writing never tries to reach above the story. She is to the point and cutting." (Mike Landry Telegraph-Journal 2011-07-02)
"Something Fierce is more than a journey into the shadows of political repression. What could have been a narrative of unremitting horror is relieved by joyous occassions...and by poetic descriptions of surroundings...Carmen Aguirre, now a respected playwright, has found the courage to revisit her terrors. She has inherited the heart of a revolutionary so the struggles for justice will continue, one the page, or on the stage." (BC Bookworld 2011-04-01)
"[Carmen Aguierre's] life has been anything but regular, and she seamlessly and eloquently tells her early life story in her first book." (Noreen Mae Ritsema Rabble.ca 2011-09-08)
"Aguirre has crafted a narrative packed with suspense, emotion, and dollops of sardonic humour." (Quill & Quire 2011-12-01)
"...raw, courageously honest and funny; an insightful journey into the formation of a revolutionary soul." (Francisca Zentilli Globe & Mail Top 100 2011-11-28)
"Aguirre, a playwright, has crafted a narrative packed with suspense, emotion, and dollops of sardonic humour. Even better, her searing memoir conveys the confusion and heartache of adolescence alongside the violent upheavals of Latin America during the late 1970s...Never polemical or self-pitying, Aguirre has written a crisp, dramatic account of growing up under extraordinary circumstances." (Quill & Quire Best Books of 2011 2011-11-29)
"Aguirre's riveting memoir chronicles her childhood as the daughter of Chilean resistance fighters...[her] writing is splendid; she combines black humor and a sharp intellect and tells her powerful story in grand style." (Publishers Weekly 2012-06-11)
About the Author
Carmen Aguirre is a Vancouver-based writer and theatre artist who has worked extensively in North and South America. She has written or co-written eighteen plays, including The Refugee Hotel, which was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for best new play in 2010. Something Fierce is her first book.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Equal parts terrifying, humorous, audacious, doleful and joyous . . . but always riveting and crucial.
What a book!
I loved this book, I could hardly put it down. It was well written and gave a real insight to the way of life in Latin and South America.Published 11 months ago by Cher
I had listened to conversation about the book on Canada Reads on CBC,
I found it a wonderful read.
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... Read morePublished on Sept. 23 2013 by Susan Taylor
A view of a terrifying point in history through a young girl, then teen, ten young woman's eyes. Compelling and at times scary, this is a story of a whole different world then my... Read morePublished on April 4 2013 by Tara
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. Read morePublished on Oct. 17 2012 by JanL
I always listen to CBC radio and when I heard that this book had won the Canada reads award I was looking forward to being totally engrossed for a weekend, sadly I found that I... Read morePublished on March 22 2012 by trixie
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