Family Sentence: The Search for My Cuban-Revolutionary, Prison-Yard, Mythic-Hero, Deadbeat Dad (Paperback)

The Search for My Cuban-Revolutionary, Prison-Yard, Mythic-Hero, Deadbeat Dad

By Jeanine Cornillot

Beacon Press (MA), 9780807006177, 220pp.

Publication Date: September 21, 2010

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Description

Jeanine Cornillot was just two years old when her father, a former Cuban revolutionary turned anti-Castro militant, was sentenced to thirty years in a Florida prison for political bombings. His absence left a single mother to raise four children who kept his incarceration a secret and conjured a mythic father-hero out of his occasional letters.
Jeanine's Irish American mother struggled to support the family in suburban Philadelphia. Summers, she put Jeanine on a plane to Little Havana, where she lived with her Spanish-speaking grandparents and bilingual cousin--a sometimes unreliable translator. It was there in Florida that she met her father face to face, in the prison yards.
As Cornillot travels between these two worlds, a wryly funny and unsentimental narrator emerges. Whether meeting her father for the first time at age six and hoping she looks Cuban enough, imagining herself a girl-revolutionary leading protest marches, dreamily planning her father's homecoming after his prison break, or writing to demand an end to his forty-four-day hunger strike after he's recaptured, young Jeanine maintains a hopeful pragmatism that belies her age.
Eventually, a child's mythology is replaced with an adult's reality in a final reckoning with her father, remarkable for the unsparing honesty on both sides.


About the Author

An Emmy Award-winning producer, Jeanine Cornillot began her career as a documentary editor, and has written and produced shows for CBS, NBC, and ABC. Cornillot has also coproduced a feature public radio documentary based on "Family Sentence, "which aired on BBC radio. She lives in Los Angeles.


Praise For Family Sentence: The Search for My Cuban-Revolutionary, Prison-Yard, Mythic-Hero, Deadbeat Dad

¡Finalemente! As incisive as she is lyrical, funny as she is profound, Cornillot dislodges the bolero-and-palm-tree nostalgia associated with Cuban American identity, and asserts claim to a new and very real history.” 
—H. G. Carillo, author of Loosing My Espanish
 
“Adds to the ever-growing jigsaw puzzle that is the Cuban American experience . . . with verve and charm.”
—Oscar Hijuelos, author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

“A charming, often sorrowful study of learning to let go of a myth and love a person.”
Kirkus Reviews

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