The Red Umbrella

Viva La Revolucion!

Book Review

The Red Umbrella is a historical fiction book written by the author Christina Diaz Gonzalez. Christina Diaz Gonzalez is just a girl from the south. She has a love for books and always has. When she was fourteen she moved to Miami and forgot her love for reading in high school. In college she studied accounting and then went to Florida State University of Law but her interests called out to her and went to Spain to study abroad which is also where she met her husband. She has won many awards from the book such as the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults, CCBC Choices Book, the Florida Book Award and many more. The Red Umbrella is a book set in Cuba during the Cold War. During this time there was a revolution in Cuba caused by Castro and his Communist party. Lucia and her family are resenting Castro and his revolution and are in trouble of being split up and possibly killed for their “crimes” against the state.

Lucia is a 9th grade girl that is resentful of her parent’s rules but loves them all the same. In the book she finds out that her best friend Ivette joins the revolution and is taken to the rural parts of Cuba to teach the poor the ways of Castro. Lucia is told why she is not allowed to join the revolution and that some kids have no choice. Her father Fernando Alvarez is taken to jail and questioned by the revolution soldiers but let go. Lucia and her brother Frankie are sent to the US to be given to a foster family while their parents are stuck in Cuba because of Castro. During their time in the US, Lucia and Frankie become more mature and appreciative of what they have and how lucky they are to be out of Cuba but at the same time are sad to be away from their parents and their home. The author does a good job of changing the minor conflicts smoothly at the same time as keeping the book interesting to the reader.

Christiana Diaz Gonzalez has a strong ability to keep they story moving by developing the characters and the conflicts. An example would be when Lucia says that she is taking care of her brother Frankie by herself in a whole new country. The setting was not always changing except for the three major changes going from Cuba to Miami all the way to Nevada yet she still kept the book interesting and the conflicts moving along. Although I enjoyed reading the book thoroughly, there was a time or two when the book started to get a little repetitive in the begging to leave the house and to join the revolution.

The Red Umbrella is set in Cuba during the Cold War and the Cuban Revolution which caused thousands of families to split up and children to be sent to America only about 189 miles from Varadero, Cuba to Miami, Florida . In this book Lucia Alvarez and her family are caught up in the revolution because they are smart enough to understand the fact that Fidel Castro just wants total power and everyone’s trust. This puts them in danger and forces them to send Lucia and her brother Frankie to be sent to the US where they are cared for by a foster family in Nevada. This book kept me interested and wanting to read it so my rating is four stars. I would recommend this book to everyone.

Analysis of historical Accuracy

The author of The Red Umbrella uses many historical events that are accurately placed in time and correctly documented in the book such as the Cold war. The author gave more than enough details to understand the setting of the book. She gives an event with the date for every chapter throughout the entire book. The author used mainly fictitious people but used real events and places. I felt that the author was well equipped with historical events. Although most of the book was historically accurate, the Cuban Revolution was off by about two years. The book also talks about coming of age and has the correct facts and age that the event should happen

Primary Sources

Short Informative Piece

Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro was the first communist leader of a country in the western hemisphere. His rule over Cuba began in 1959 and was an effect of the Cuban Revolution which started in 1953 with an attack in Santiago de Cuba against the Moncada Army barracks with only 120 men in Castro’s power, he was defeated and jailed for 15 years. Fidel Castro was born on August 13 in 1928 near a town in eastern Cuba called Biran. His father was a very wealthy sugar cane farmer. Fidel Castro’s father’s money aided in the uprising of the revolution by purchasing fire arms and ammunition which attracted many soliders and rebels to join Castro and his revolution. He ended up in Mexico and sailed to the eastern coast of Cuba where they were attacked by the government and an estimated 18 out of 81 survived. Castro and the others fled to the mountains where they were slowly building up recruits. In 1958 Batista launched a huge attack on the uprising but the Guerrilla fighters held their ground and launched a counter attack and defeated the troops which caused Batista to flee and lose control of Cuba to Fidel on January 1, 1959.

Short Narrative Piece

Finally mother let me go out of the house. Even if were just to get Frankie medicine. Doc Machados was right in front of me looking as weird as ever. As I walked inside Doc Machado's usual "How do ya do?" didn't occur. Instead his wife was standing there looking out of the window. When she noticed me I told her what I wanted and left. When I left I went the opposite way I came just so I could have a little longer to stay outside but when I turned the corner I saw Doc Machado hanging from a tree. I was traumatized .
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