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Something Fierce Hardcover – Apr 18 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Douglas & Mcintyre; Canadian First edition (April 18 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1553654625
  • ISBN-13: 978-1553654629
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 540 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #247,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"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.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: 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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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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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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Format: 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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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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