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Take Me with You: A Secret Search for Family in a Forbidden Cuba Paperback


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Take Me with You: A Secret Search for Family in a Forbidden Cuba + Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth about Cuba Today + Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1 edition (November 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416559523
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416559528
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #776,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Take Me With You really does take you with it, on an unforgettable journey, not just to Cuba -- a forbidding place unlike any other on earth -- but also to that mysterious, nameless part of the human soul that yearns for home and for lasting bonds with kin. At once gritty and transcendent, this is one travelogue that soars. Frías lays bare his heart and in the process exposes the Cuba few tourists or journalists ever get to see: a labyrinth of ruins haunted by the ghosts of those who escaped from it." -- Carlos Eire, National Book Award-winning author of Waiting for Snow in Havana

"Carlos Frías pulls off a stunner. Take Me With You is more than a memoir. It's the immigrant's tale made whole -- leavened with compassion, spiced by family secrets, and driven by the hope that what was once broken can actually be pieced back together again. Yes, it's a portrait of Cuba today. But even better, Take Me With You holds up a mirror to America. Peer into it: I guarantee you'll find a piece of your family, your father, yourself here, too." -- S. L. Price, senior writer at Sports Illustrated and author of Pitching Around Fidel

"[Take Me With You] is a poignant personal journey in a superb debut book." -- The Indianapolis Star

"Take Me With You is a compelling narrative of a country that holds a strangely significant place in the minds of Americans." -- St. Petersburg Times

"Vividly descriptive and highly emotional, Frias' account will please those who know Cuban history, as well as the uninformed." -- Rocky Mountain News

"Frias's writing is emotional, his descriptions fresh." -- The Washington Post Book Review

"If you're Cuban-American, his story is yours. And if you're not Cuban-American, perhaps there's even more reason to dive into this honest insider's guide to the Cuban experience." -- Lydia Martin, The Miami Herald.

"It wouldn't matter if Frías was Irish or Italian or Martian. This is a compelling story about family. In its way, it's reminiscent of Rick Bragg's book about his mother, All Over but the Shoutin'. Like that book, it's a great story, well told. Frías's writing is elegant." -- William McKeen, Creative Loafing

"His very moving book, Take Me With You, reinforces my sense that by far the most enduring legacy of the Cuban revolution 50 years ago is the divided family." -- Lucy Ash of BBC Radio's "Outlook".

"With his sensitive, provocative, and mature portrait of the island his parents came from, Carlos Frías is in the forefront of la nueva nostalgia cubana." -- Tom Miller, author of Trading With the Enemy: A Yankee Travels Through Castro's Cuba

About the Author

Carlos Frías is a natural observer who spent his formative years as a journalist traveling the South, primarily as a sportswriter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This "Southern Fried Cuban" has known the country on an intimate level.

Today a columnist and features writer for The Palm Beach Post, Frías says he is "assembled in America from Cuban parts." He grew up just north of the Dade-Broward County "border," born of Cuban exiles but raised among the "gringos" as Little Havana glittered in the distance.

Fully bilingual, he travels easily between those worlds. In 2006, he journeyed through Cuba, where he reported the basis for "Take Me With You," a five-part series of first-person stories about his family for which he was named the Best of Cox Newspapers Writer of the Year.

The judges called the series "storytelling that raises journalism to the level of art."

In 2012, he won three awards from the Society For Features Journalism for his work as a features writer and occasional columnist for The Palm Beach Post. One winning story on a family dealing with early-onset Alzheimer'swas republished across the country. While he was a sportswriter, the Associated Press Sports Editors awarded him eight top-10 awards in a span of five years for his work on in-depth features and investigative stories, including a first-place finish in 2007 for a story on former pitcher Major League pitcher Jeff Reardon.

Frías resides in Pembroke Pines, Fla., with his three daughters.

More About the Author

Carlos Frías is a natural observer who spent his formative years as a journalist traveling the South, primarily as a sportswriter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This "Southern Fried Cuban" has known the country on an intimate level.
Today a columnist and features writer for The Palm Beach Post, Frías says he is "assembled in America from Cuban parts." He grew up just north of the Dade-Broward County "border," born of Cuban exiles but raised among the "gringos" as Little Havana glittered in the distance.

Fully bilingual, he travels easily between those worlds. In 2006, he journeyed through Cuba, where he reported the basis for "Take Me With You," a five-part series of first-person stories about his family for which he was named the Best of Cox Newspapers Writer of the Year.

The judges called the series "storytelling that raises journalism to the level of art."

In 2012, he won three awards from the Society For Features Journalism for his work as a features writer and occasional columnist for The Palm Beach Post. One winning story on a family dealing with early-onset Alzheimer's was republished across the country. While he was a sportswriter, the Associated Press Sports Editors awarded him eight top-10 awards in a span of five years for his work on in-depth features and investigative stories, including a first-place finish in 2007 for a story on former pitcher Major League pitcher Jeff Reardon.

Frías resides in South Florida with his three daughters.

For more of Frias' work, please visit The Palm Beach Post: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/go/carlosfrias

Visit his website and connect with him at www.cfrias.com.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The book ends on an uplifting note of promise for the future.
Sharon M. Bressen
Well, Carlos Frias in his memoir really painted a whole and complete story about Cuba, the Cuban experience, as well as the Cuban American experience.
Shawn
It's the story of an American born, Cuban journalist who returns to Cuba to look up family and friends still in Cuba.
Terry Straehley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Mcdill on February 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Through Carlos Frias' heart-felt scribing, I stowed away to Cuba on this amazing journey. His descriptive writing truly brings the smells of Havana's streets and Cuban coffee into your home. This is a must read for anyone who has ever wondered what daily life is like behind the Cuban curtain. I wait with earnest for Carlos' next gift to the literary world.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Beverly G. Browning on May 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Take Me with You is a memoir like no other. Author Carlos Frias sneaks the reader into the dark decay of forbidden Cuba with a whispered agreement: Reader must acknowledge the grave danger in which his Cuban relatives have placed themselves by being candid. Further, we must help protect them by never insisting that names or descriptions of meetings be entirely accurate. Any book that draws the reader into a life-and-death contract from the get-go, promises to deliver a riveting read. Take Me with You makes good on that promise.

Frias, an award-winning journalist and the American-born son of Cuban exiles living in south Florida, snaps up an assignment to cover Cuba during Castro's illness in 2006. For him, this is more than an assignment; it's an opportunity to discover the mythical Cuba spun from the collective nostalgia, heartbreak, and personal secrets of his parents and their community. It's a homecoming in a place he never actually lived. Posing as a wide-eyed tourist while Cuba is ejecting all journalists, Frias bluffs his way into the country from Cancun for twelve days that will change his life.

Take Me with You is the work of a master storyteller, and it's a good thing. This is a complex book: one part memoir, one part history book, one part travelogue, and one part love letter to Frias's parents. It's flawlessly written to capture the heart-pounding danger of his mission, the despair and hope of Cuba's people, and the passionate love of family separated by miles of ocean and years of time. Take Me with You is breathtaking. Frias just set the new standard for memoir.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Branch on July 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
I came upon this book by chance and was at first taken with the writing, which is marvelously evocative of the people and places Frias describes. Then I felt drawn into the hunt for the author's family ties in Cuba, and remnants of life befor Fidel. I wish the book were longer. It is entertaining, edifying, and moving. I hope to read more by Frias in the very near future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kim Burdick on November 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well-written and very moving book. The newly-developing connections between family members across a 90 mile body of water give poignant life to "Take Me With You."

The secondary story, and to my mind, the most important part, is that the book lets a breathe of fresh air into America's view of a sealed country. I was particularly struck by the two-faced nature of Castro's Cuba. The Cuba seen by tourists is a stage set.

The houses on Elian Gonzale's street are painted and repaired so news casts shown in the rest of the world will present a nice image of Cuba. The infrastructure and houses in the neighborhoods of the ordinary folks are crumbling and decaying. The facade continues with churches, hotels and restaurants that only tourists are allowed to visit.

The deprivations in terms of meat, medical supplies and adequate modern sewer systems is inexcusable, and Frias's expressed need of protecting his Cuban cousins by using fictive names is tragic. The neighborhood watch that squeals on its neighbors and the author's fear that his journals will be found in his suitcase are chilling.

This book by a Cuban-American will make the reader more appreciative of life in the United States and of the resilience of every day Cubans who must "go along to get along."

This book is an excellent companion piece to "This is Cuba" by Ben Corbett. Both books will leave you amazed and angry.

Kim Burdick
Stanton, Delaware
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lucky in Love on January 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is fantastic. It really gives a great view of the social and human cost of the "glorious" Cuban revolution that has caused so much suffering and hardship in Cuba. Frias' juxtaposition of his life in Miami with the life that would have been, had his family not made the decision to leave Cuba (at a very great cost), is quite compelling.

After reading it I gave copies as Christmas gifts to some relatives and a couple of co-workers who will relate.

Excellent read, quite engaging.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gene Peters on March 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Carlos Frias' book "Take Me With You" not only personalizes life today inside of Cuba, but it is a must read for anyone who has an interest in writing about their family heritage. Carlos' parents and their former Cuban associates are now in their senior years, but through his writing you see them as they were in their years of youth in a Cuba before the communist revolution. Carlos' descriptions mirror my own research in learning to know my parents, both now deceased, as the young people they once were.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bob Buchanan on September 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When Fidel Castro is sick and out of sight, speculation in the American-Cuban community is rampant on what's next. To have a source in Havana, the Palm Beach Post sends sports reporter Carlos Frias through Mexico to Cuba. Though born in the US, Frias has been trained by his Cuban-born parents to speak Spanish as a native-born Cuban and immersed in Cuban culture and family. His book is not based on his submissions to the Post. Rather, it captivates the reader in his deeply personal pursuit in Cuba of family ties, his father's, mother's, and wife's. We learn too of how, with disastrous results, the communist ideologues shut even very small businesses, half a dozen cafes run by Frias's father and uncles. While Castro can claim advances in medicine and education for the masses and successes in sports and the arts, the rigid communist ideology still holds Cuba back. Because the rest of the world, if not the United States, is willing to do business with Cuba, it's hard to blame its problems solely on our embargo. Read Frias because you will be captured in his adventure and because you will better understand the unfair and unnecessary harm inflicted by the communist regime on many Cubans now on our soil and on those who stayed behind.
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