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Take Me with You: A Secret Search for Family in a Forbidden Cuba Paperback – November 17, 2009
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"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
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.
Frías resides in Pembroke Pines, Fla., with his three daughters.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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. An amazing story and a great insight. It was also a wonderful read.
This is a true story of family, known and unknown previously, left behind in Cuba. But, of course, it's more. It's really the story of Cuba since Castro. And, before Castro, too. All is told through family members' stories. ( And, it's a huge exended family!) Because this is such a personal tale, we feel along with the author, an American born here into a Cuban-American family.
The author, in a twelve day trip to Cuba, cannot decide whether his heart belongs to his Cuban family or to his family in the U.S. ( He has a very hard time not getting enmeshed in his Cuban family's lives. They need him, and they idolize him. And, vice-versa, too. ) A good deal of Frias' sadness in Cuba is a kind of "survivor guilt", a feeling that he has it so good here, and they, in Cuba, are struggling. There's only so much he can do!
It's clear that the visit with his relatives and to know Cuba from a non-tourist viewpoint has changed the author. Maybe it's changed us, the readers, too.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've read number of memoirs about Cuba, my interest sparked by a family member's trips to the country. Read morePublished 11 months ago by deevelyn
An excellent book! I grew to feel as if I were a part of that family and cared about each of them. Illuminating to see what life in Cuba is truly like.Published 13 months ago by Dixie Johnson
A must read for 1st generation American Cubans and those who would like to understand us.Published 17 months ago by ATLY
As the son of a Cuban rufugee myself, every page brought tears to my eyes and a yearning in my heart to also retrace the steps of my family. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Indigo Montoya
Gives a great feel for what Cuba is like and how the people struggle for everything they get.Published 19 months ago by patti
An amazing story about Cuba in 2006. I've been interested in the plight of the people in Cuba since I met my husband who is 1/2 Cuban. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Susan Cecilia