Something fierce, alright.

9 Feb

As disappointing as it was to see Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat voted off on the first day of Canada Reads, it was a necessary move, as it propelled Something Fierce by Carmen Aguirre to center stage in the Canada Reads Live debate. Going into Canada Reads, I had a clear idea of which book I was going to be championing for. Possessing the little knowledge I had of Pinochet, and the devastating consequences to his regime, I knew that I would find Ms. Aguirre’s book to be a compelling read. No doubt, the other entries would prove to be worthy opponents, and yet I held the steadfast belief that Something Fierce was a book that would not only captivate its audience, but would ultimately give its readers a lesson in history, as well as a lesson on humanity.

The book spares no details, in that it speaks openly of the atrocities that occur within a repressive regime, and by doing so exposes the ugly side of human nature. It also speaks of the aspects of human life that are identical across the board and how these facets of life are all consuming even when one’s way of life is under turmoil. Whether the reader has shared similar experiences or not, the readership will certainly be able to relate to Ms. Aguirre’s commonplace struggles with adolescence and complex family dynamics that plague most of us, no matter how extraordinary or ordinary our everyday lives are.

I am currently working with an author who has written a fictional account of a woman who lived in Chile during Pinochet’s regime. The book speaks of ‘the disappeared’, and gives a chilling account of the atrocities that occurred under this regime. Although it is fictional, I found this author’s account of the events to be immensely captivating and poignantly told. I hope that it is a story that will soon be shared with others.

With regards to Canada Reads, I am already anticipating next year’s selected titles and very much looking forward to watching the live debate. Last year was fiction, this year was non-fiction…perhaps next year the titles will be of a specific genre? Will have to wait to find out.

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