Family Sentence: The Search for My Cuban-Revolutionary, Prison-Yard, Mythic-Hero, Deadbeat Dad

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Dan Cornillot (daneon) | LibraryThing

Red River Girl. Joanna Jolly. My Own Devices. One-Way Ticket. All that she knows of her father she learns from his infrequent letters and a few family trips to visit him in prison during her summers in Miami.

All the rest, she makes up as she goes along. She worries and wonders about her father's life in prison, imagines a family reunion that she's certain will never happen while she's still a child, and she perpetrates tiny acts of terrorism in school hallways imagining the revolutionary blood that runs through her veins and bonds her to a father who she doesn't know and will never understand.

Family Sentence is a book about a girl growing into a woman and trying to piece together the disparate pieces of her identity.

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Family Sentence: The Search for My Cuban-Revolutionary, Prison-Yard, Mythic-Hero, Deadbeat Dad

It's also the story of a girl trying to know a father who is distant and perplexing even when he volunteers answers to any question she might have. It's a story about reconciling the myth of a dad, who by his ideals and through a daughter's loving but ignorant eyes has become larger than life with a real person who has lived an imperfect life without the regrets readers would expect.

Cornillot tells her story with brutal honesty, painting the naive girl she was, desperate to look and seem more "Cuban" for a father who could barely be bothered to remember her when they were apart. She brings her young self to vivid life with many anecdotes of her young life complete with her girlhood imaginings and her childish quirks like her penchant for saying "that's a crime" about anything that seems slightly unjust.

Unfortunately, sometimes it seems like the anecdotes get away from her, and that makes for the book's one flaw that it's easy to get lost in the individual anecdotes and lose track of where Cornillot is going with the larger narrative of her life with and without her father. However, the book seems to collect itself in its final chapters as Jeanine reunites with her father as a teenager and a young adult and all the myths and misconceptions she had about her father collide.

Ultimately, Cornillot's is a compelling memoir that draws us into her life and tells a personal story that every kid who's ever idolized a parent only to grow up and discover a fallible human being can relate to. Posted by Megan AM.


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  4. The Search for My Cuban-Revolutionary, Prison-Yard, Mythic-Hero, Deadbeat Dad.
  5. Labels: book reviews , Early Reviewer , memoir , non-fiction. Cass January 7, at PM. Eva January 9, at PM. Newer Post Older Post Home.