Review of My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson

Posted by in netgalley copy

I never really know how to review books where I am clearly not the audience. For example, My Brigadista Year is marketed as Children's Fiction. Since I like kidlit (well, middle-grade and on more than picture books), I still request such books, but then I read them and am like this isn't for me, what am I supposed to say?

Plot: Cuba, 1960s. Thirteen year old Lora becomes a literacy volunteer for Castro, going off from Havana into the hinterlands of Cuba to teach campesinos how to read. It's vaguely inspiring, but the whole thing is so simplistic and flatly rendered, the conflicts either trivially resolved (her father doesn't want Lora to go, but then a page later relents, some campesino men don't want to learn to read, a chapter later they decide to learn, etc.) or are related second-hand (other volunteers are killed, the Bay of Pigs happens off-stage) without any real depth. But, then again, it's a kid book from the perspective of a kid. Can I really expect some sort of deep, moral philosophizing from a child protagonist in a book marketed to children? I mean, obviously, I do expect it, but can I really be surprised when it doesn't happen?

I just wish that this book was more than it ended up being 🙁

My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson went on sale October 10, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.