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Something Fierce: A Memoir of a Revolutionary Daughter [Kindle Edition]

Carmen Aguirre
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

One minute, 11-year-old Carmen is watching her hippy mum put curlers in for the first time, the next she is being dragged with her sister through LA airport with her mother muttering about ‘the patriarchy’ under breath. The three of them board a plane that takes them to Peru, next door to the Chile from which the family had fled after Pinochet’s coup. Eight days after landing in Lima, and still perplexed by their mother’s disguises and lies, they’re off again, on a bus bound they know not where. They are then to spend most of the next decade, the 1980s, moving from dictatorship to dictatorship, evading capture, torture and peril at every turn. It is no way to spend your teenage years, until, overnight, it becomes the way Carmen herself chooses… She writes: ‘It is not my intention to present myself as a hero or a martyr. On the contrary, Something Fierce is the story of a resistance member living in fear. Fear that my political convictions would not be strong enough to keep myself committed to a cause that I believed in but which clashed with my other desires: to live a “normal” life, to sleep a full night’s sleep, to dance and laugh and talk nonsense without my radar up, without having to watch every word, every choice I make.’

Product Description


"Aguirre's riveting memoir chronicles her childhood as the daughter of Chilean resistance fighters. ...Aguirre's writing is splendid; she combines black humor and a sharp intellect and tells her powerful story in grand style."--"Publishers Weekly" "A moving, heart-racing journey through the political landscape of South America during the 70s and 80s told by a brave daughter of the Chilean resistance. An inspiration to anyone who strives to live a life of passion and purpose." --Camilla Gibb, author of Sweetness in the Belly "Aguirre's story is the personal experience of a brave young woman...Something Fierce is raw, courageously honest and funny; an insightful journey into the formation of a revolutionary soul." --"The Globe and Mail" "A coming-of-age story that blends birthday parties and puppy love with indoctrination in the tradecraft of subversion: how to arrange the delivery of secret documents, how to lose a police tail, how to lead a double life." --"Toronto Star" "Carmen writes like someone who knows how it feels to exhale with no certainty that another breath will follow...The stories that fill this book feel like the stories of several lives, not the adventurous, exhilarating and harrowing adolescence and early adulthood of one extraordinary person." --"National Post" "[Aguirre] has crafted a narrative packed with suspense, emotion, and dollops of sardonic humour. Even better, her searing memoir conveys the confusion and heartache of adolescence alongside the violent upheavals of Latin America during the late 1970s...Never polemical or self-pitying, Aguirre has written a crisp, dramatic account of growing up under extraordinary circumstances." --"Quill & Quire" "Aguirre's writing is, indeed, something fierce. That she has finally told this story is a triumph. This extraordinary book is four texts in one: a hilarious, pelvis-rocking story of a young girl on an impassioned journey into womanhood, a harrowing testamen

About the Author

CARMEN AGUIRRE was taken, aged 11, from her comfortable Canadian exile, by her mother, to Chile, then Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, spending the next 6 years in the safe houses her mother and stepfather ran. At 18, she joined the guerrilla resistance in Pinochet's Chile. Today she again lives in Canada, where she is a celebrated playwright and actress - she was in Quinceanera, a Sundance winner. This is her first book.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 701 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1553654625
  • Publisher: Portobello Books (6 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005OQ6MOI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #203,035 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read 4 Feb. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very readable book that carries you along and really takes you into the South America of the 80s. What an interesting life Carmen Aguirre lead as a child and young woman.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something brilliant 19 Aug. 2012
By T. Gee
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Carmen Aguirre's memoir 'Something Fierce' is a first-hand account of a Canadian family of Chilean descent who returned to their continent of birth to support struggles against the US-backed dictators of the 1980s, during the birth of modern neoliberalism.

Narrated from the innocent and passionate perspective of a teenage girl, Something Fierce mixes the best elements of a revolutionary adventure story and coming-of-age novel while at the same time offering a humane critique of the political and economic structures which dominated the region at the time, and went on to influence much of the rest of the world.

Part of a longer review at [...]

Tim Gee is the author of Counterpower: Making Change Happen [...]
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5.0 out of 5 stars inspirational 19 Oct. 2014
By Clive A
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a middle aged man supposedly aware of the many injustices in our world, but one of the many to sit back tutting about the said injustices, and yet still doing nothing too helpful, in the hope that somewhere, someone is doing something positive.i thought Carmen's story was truly inspiring very well written and utterly believable.This book has certainly made me think more deeply about many of the struggles around the world in my lifetime.I would absolutely commend this book to anyone with an open mind and a desire to see what drives people who have alternative views to those in power.I should also like to make it clear that as well as an inspirational story it is A very good and exciting read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Gift 15 Dec. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought Something Fierce after hearing it read on R4 and gave it to my nephew's Chilean wife as a gift. She found it fascinating and a true record of difficult times in Chile.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible story! 13 Aug. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was living in Chile at the time of the plebiscite and the "return to Democracy" and my memories are that it was a time of rejoicing even though a percentage of the population was pro Pinochet. What the author and her family went through, wether you agree with their political views or not, makes for an excellent read. The pull that long, thin country has on people is extraordinary.
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