While attending college I did most my observations in schools that were predominantly title one and were full of children who were emigrants to America. Many lived in apartments where most emigrants lived and they even had English tutors come from Catholic Charities to help them outside of school. I was one of these tutors. I enjoyed this immensely and loved being around these families who were from different cultures than I and lived very differently than me. They had little money, tiny apartments with as many as 11 or 12 total people living in one. They were humbled and kind and I thought of my time with these children while reading this book.
Lucky Broken Girl is from the view of a Cuban young girl named Ruthie who has come to America with her family. They live in a one bedroom apartment in New York where lots of other families that are new to America live. Her mother is a little upset and missed Cuba, but she tries to hold herself together in front of Ruthie’s father because it upsets him to speak of the motherland. They have come to the land of the free after all. The family dynamics are predictable roles; the mother stays home cleaning and caring for the children and has dinner ready for her husband the moment he comes home. The father works several jobs as an emigrant trying to make the most of their free life and very much throws his weight around. The children, a younger brother and Ruthie are respectful to their parents and know their role.
Ruthie’s father decides to buy a car, one he has always dreamed of having, and shortly after the purchase, has a wreck (multi car, not his fault). Many are killed and poor Ruthie’s leg is shattered, leaving her in a full body cast for months. The things this little girl must endure are simply sad. You feel like you are there with her when she talks about having to use the bed pan to poop or when she feels like such a burden to her mother. But she is determined to work on school work and overcome her situation. She is strong and although she feels like a baby again having to be so needy and being confined to a bed for so long, she overcomes it with the help of the community around her.
I enjoyed reading this book. The mix of the languages, her native Cuban tongue and English was done seamlessly and I understood and recognized the importance of it. This is a wonderful read for young adults.
Click on the image to visit the author’s Amazon page to find more books written by Behar.
This was a Pure Belpre Author Award winner for 2018.
Behar, Ruth (2017). Lucky broken girl. New York, NY: Delacorte.