Review of Empowered By the Dream

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Kajori Sheryl Paul
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Latest Review: Empowered By the Dream by Gladys A Barrio

Review of Empowered By the Dream

Post by Kajori Sheryl Paul »

[Following is an official review of "Empowered By the Dream" by Gladys A Barrio.]
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5 out of 5 stars
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In Empowered by the Dream: A Journey of Resilience, Gladys A. Barrio chronicles the lives, loves, and struggles of three generations of her family.

Both Gladys’ paternal and maternal grandparents had a tough start in life. Her paternal grandfather, Manuel Barrio, had to start from scratch as a stowaway from Spain in the early 20th century. His wife, America, was there with him every step of the way as he carved out a life in Cuba. Gladys’ maternal grandfather, Bautista Castañer, arrived in Cuba just after marrying Maria. They were successful coffee plantation owners for a time. However, they decided to return to Spain in the hopes of providing high-quality education to their four children. Little could they imagine the turmoil awaiting them when the Spanish Civil War hit the land. Gladys’ parents, Alfredo and Enedina, met in Santiago, Cuba. Soon after getting married, Alfredo left his paternal cradle to start his own business in Havana. When he was finally successful, Fidel Castro took over Cuba. Like most Cubans, Alfredo and his family suffered under the tyrannical Cuban regime. Now, Alfredo had to decide whether he wanted to risk his family's lives and stay behind to protect all his material possessions or uproot his entire family and start afresh with not a penny in his name.

Would Alfredo be able to succeed in a foreign land and help pave the way for his friends and family, or would he succumb to obscurity? Most importantly, would the Barrio-Castañer family, along with the thousands of Cuban exiles, finally see the end of Castro's regime?

Empowered by the Dream: A Journey of Resilience is a beautiful story of one family's journey of survival. Through the tale of her family, Gladys A. Barrio brings to us the tales of millions of exiles who had to go through the travails of the Spanish Civil War and suffer under Fidel Castro's communist regime in Cuba.

Gladys A. Barrio is a brilliant author. She uses the third-person perspective to tell her story. Though some of the dialogues are fictional, it is evident that Barrio's tale is rooted in true facts. She has drawn from the stories told by her parents, aunts, uncles, and friends as well as her own experiences to craft this masterpiece. Her writing is vivid and heartfelt. It made me feel like I was there with her grandparents as they started out their lives in Spain. Manuel Barrio's hard work and determination are admirable. The relationship between him and his wife, America, is imitable. I could imagine the constant tension the Castañer family experienced while fleeing from the armies during the Spanish Civil War. I could relate to Alfredo and Enedina Barrio's struggle as they left their homeland to start a new life elsewhere. Alfredo was a man of initiative. He did not let life subdue him. Enedina was there with him every step of the way for over five decades. The couple even tried their best to ease the way for their fellow exiles. Both Alfredo and Enedina are truly admirable. Though, I have to say that I would have liked to know what really went on between them in the later years of their lives. Having said that, I admire the author for respecting her parents’ privacy and focusing on their enduring love for each other. Also, I am thankful to the author for sharing her family pictures and Rober's letters. They made me relate to the story all the more.

Empowered by the Dream: A Journey of Resilience is a heart-touching tale that sheds light on the plight of immigrants and exiles. I loved Gladys A. Barrio's book. There is nothing that I disliked about this book. I happily rate Gladys A. Barrio's Empowered by the Dream: A Journey of Resilience 5 out of 5 stars. This book is highly recommended to fans of biographies and creative nonfiction books. People who have an interest in Cuba will love this book.

Empowered By the Dream
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