Author Carlos Eire presents a memoir of his upper middle class childhood in Cuba, spanning the years between Batista’s rule and the ascension of Fidel Castro. Eire describes his early youth as one of privilege and enjoyment; the reckless pleasures of rough play activities with his friends and father is contrasted with the strict religious education he receives from the monks at his school. His family members and friends are depicted lovingly and humorously; the portrayal of his father the judge who believes that he is the reincarnation of King Louis the Sixteenth is hilarious. The characterizations of people that Eire does not like explode with rage.
As Castro comes into power, Eire’s family finds that their range of freedoms narrows. In 1962, their parents send Carlos and his brother Tony to the United States during Operation Peter Pan, where they endure life-altering changes. Eventually their mother joins them but their father remains behind in Cuba.
Eire’s lyrical prose accentuates the emotional timbre of his account, allowing the reader to empathize with his plight.