By Mirta Ojito
Ojito was 17 when she left Cuba for the United States as part of the Mariel boatlift in 1980. Her book tells the story of her life in Cuba and the beginning of her life in Florida, mixed in with chapters about others, whose actions led to the boatlift that brought 125,000 Cubans to the United States.
It's amazing how little I knew about Cuba before reading this book: 125,000 people left Cuba in, at best, uncomfortable conditions shortly before I was born. I thought paid attention in American history, but I don't remember this. I even took a Latin American studies class in college, but I think we were distracted by Elian Gonzalez and his dolphin friends.
Ojito, a journalist, is evenhanded in her telling and reporting, and, as an exile she is conflicted about her home:
...Seven years after Mariel, I was still limping through life, maimed by my exile condition. I enjoyed the new freedoms, but, paradoxically, missed the restrictions that I had rebelled against in Cuba.