In this endearing memoir, Masticate and Swallow, by Fabio Alberto Hurtado, we learn of a young Cuban boy from the 1970’s, who emigrates to the United States. Hurtado sets the stage with a series of short stories from his childhood in Cuba, highlighting his relationship with family and the state.
Masticate and Swallow – A Heartwarming Story
He speaks of hardships living in a Communist country; yet he does it with humor. One of my favorite stories centers around a family game of Parchesi, where the family has only one die to play the game (The other was lost long ago). The game was competitive, and both Fabio and his cousin Sara did not like to lose. Fabio was one roll away from winning the game. Rather than lose to Fabio, Sara swallowed the die! Now, in Cuba, one cannot simply go down to the local store and purchase a new set of dice. So, what was anyone to do, but to wait for the die to appear again. As Fabio put it, “I do remember playing Parchesi again a week or so later with a shiny and clean die that was not purchased, but retrieved” (p. 29). When I read this story, I had tears of laughter, rolling down my face! Hurtado’s ability to place you in the scene is masterful!
In the second half of the book, Hurtado tells us of his adjustment to life in America; learning the language, and learning his way, in this new world. The family moves to Elizabeth, NJ; a town that I am familiar with, as I am a “Jersey Girl.” The adjustment was not easy; the living conditions were not glamorous, but the core family was together. Here is where you really see the love pour forth as Hurtado speaks of his relationships with those he loves; those with him, and those who were still in Cuba.
Great Book for Teens!
This is an excellent book for teens to read; especially those teens who want to better understand the implications of political systems on the individual. It is a great book for anyone who wants to put a face on the immigration process. Hurtado does such an excellent job, with the telling of his life’s story, that one can’t help but be touched in the heart.
Get Your Copy of Masticate and Swallow
If you would like to get a copy of Masticate and Swallow, then click here. By the way, I can’t explain the title without giving away the whole story. You’ll just need to read it for yourself, as I don’t want to spoil the surprise!
If you would like to purchase an autographed copy of my book, Adventures of Faith, Hope and Charity: Finding Patience, then click here.