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Cuba: My Revolution Hardcover – September 14, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This dramatic account of the experiences of a young woman named Sonya during the Cuban revolution is based on the experiences of Lockpez. The narrative traces Sonya as she transforms from an idealist revolutionary studying to be a surgeon to a dissident artist who realizes she must flee her beloved but troubled country. Along the way, she witnesses carnage, is imprisoned and tortured, and is separated from her family. In the midst of the chaos, she also finds love. Haspiel, who has known Lockpez for over 20 years, provides striking illustrations that chart Sonya's shifting emotions and alliances; particularly strong are the surrealist depictions of her dreams and her ordeal in prison. Painter José Villarubia adds tones and shades of red that further intensify the story. At times Lockpez relies too heavily on clunky exposition explaining the history of Cuba and Castro, although some readers may find the context helpful. It is impossible to deny the power of Lockpez's dramatic coming-of-age story, which make the human cost of the revolution all too clear. (Sept.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up–This memoir is an excellent example of the graphic novel's ability to make pain visible. Opening panels dated December 31, 1958, introduce Sonya, fashionably dressed in vibrant red, looking forward to a new year with Fidel Castro's overthrow of the Batista regime and a new hope for Cuba. "I feel a new beginning has come for my country. Finally the justice and equality we have yearned for is about to happen." Sonya gets caught up with the fervor of this movement and renounces her plans to study art. Instead she joins the military and commences medical studies in her zeal to bring positive change to her beloved country. However, life in Cuba becomes progressively worse. This is signaled visually by the change to a black-and-white palette. She is imprisoned and tortured by her own country. Her mother, stepfather, and infant sister are finally able to leave, but Sonya stubbornly refuses to go, clinging to her dreams and ideals. The final panel reveals her tear-stained face, etched with the years of pain and horror as she finally leaves Cuba. "I don't know right from wrong anymore. What happened to the principles we believed in five years ago? I'm always afraid, all the time. All the time." The pain is both visually and verbally palpable. Due to graphic depictions of violence and nudity this searing account is most appropriate for mature readers.Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140122217X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401222178
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #980,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Wednesday afternoon I went into Manhattan to see Dean Haspiel at a book signing for CUBA: MY REVOLUTION and get my copy. I always tell Dean I want to come out for his events and buy his books but something always comes up to keep me home. Not this time. I've been looking forward to this book for a long time -- at least a year, I think, starting when I dropped in to say hello to Dean at the Deep6 studio and saw him working on the first two pages. They looked great, and I could see he was working hard on it, piling up reference material and always bent over his drawing board. More than once as I stopped in to see him he'd end a conversation with, "I'd love to keep chatting but I really have to work," which is one brush-off I'll never feel bad about.

I just finished reading CUBA: MY REVOLUTION. It is truly a great work. At first I was unsure about it: The writing seemed a little stilted, a little didactic, with a "translated from the Spanish" cadence to it. But a funny thing happened a few pages into the story. I became enveloped. I was drawn in. I found myself completely involved in the story. I was no longer reading words and looking at drawings. I was part of the story, swept up, deeply invested in each moment. The book achieves that wonderful thing that happens in only the best comics, when the story and images blend together into a perfect seamless whole that carries the reader along. The total effect is helped, too, by the perfect colors of José Villarrubia.

CUBA: MY REVOLUTION probably deserves to be placed with Art Spiegelman's MAUS (The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale (No 1)) as one of the great historical, biographical comics of all time.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cuba:My Revolution connected a lot of dots for me (in a human way) about a part of history that I've never quite understood. This one woman's journey to discover herself and the true identity of her home country tells the part of history that was not taught in any classroom I attended. The passion and emotion expressed through the author's storytelling and the artist's images are compelling. There is enough factual information combined with the story of the family and Sonya that it is easy to let yourself become completely involved. Sonya becomes a person who the reader begins to care about and pray for....and I found myself begging her to listen to those around her and get out of Cuba...only to feel devastated at was she loses as she leaves it behind.

I'm not sure what is braver: to have lived this or to tell the story of having lived it, but Inverna Lockpez has told a story that can not be forgotten. The story of Sonya made me feel grateful for having been born in a privileged place and thankful for living in a time period that gives women a voice. It also made me realize that questioning the voices of authority is not only wise but necessary. The images created by Dean Haspiel will be the short path in my mind's eye to the moments in the story that haunt me and they will help me remember what is so important not to forget.

This format, the graphic novel, is fairly new to me, but I am definitely starting to understand how combining storytelling and picturetelling can be powerful. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the medium; I recommend completely. You do not have to be a fan of graphic novel's to appreciate this book, but it may make you one.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent memoir...it elevates the graphic novel form to a genuinely literary level. I came from Cuba at age six, with my parents, through the so-called Freedom Flights. My father was an agnostic, yet a politically expressive person (a liberal progressive) who found the regime to be without a soul...my mother a Jehovah's Witness, who found the regime persecuting her religious community.

I myself am a progressive who is often disillusioned with the right-wing reactionary elements in the United States (including those in the Cuban exile community in Miami, more so in the 1970s/80s, when political violence erupted in that community). I came to the US in May of 1968 between the assassinations of Martin Luther King and that of Robert F. Kennedy. Not the best introduction to my new homeland.

Yet, truth is truth: the decrepit totalitarian Castro regime has sucked the life out of Cuba...artistically, philosophically, economically, etc. It never stood for justice, fairness, egalitarianism, etc.,...it has been a sham and a lie.

This account is especially well-suited for my fellow progressives, who fail to see that Cuba is not a worker's paradise, but a worker's prison camp. Blaming the US embargo or enmity for the state of personal freedom in Cuba is being an apologist for a Stalinist-style regime.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This inspired collaboration renders a courageous story with passionate intensity. The pages are filled with striking images that deepen the text--ranging from a close-up of the saddle shoe worn by one character juxtaposed against the heroine's army boot to a blood-red depiction of Castro's soldiers descending from the mountains that frames a scene of upper class social life to the final stark photograph of the fragile seventeen-year-old author that casts all the preceding horrors in a fresh light. It is rare for a theatrical performance to consolidate the talents of author, director, actors, and designers so that each enhances the achievement of the others, but that's what this collaboration accomplishes. In the process, it sets new standards for the graphic novel as a vehicle for profound human experience.
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