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!Free Kindle ♬ In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd ⚕ In These Linked Tales About The Cuban American Experience And The Immigrant Experience In General, Ana Menendez Has Instantly Established Herself As A Natural Storyteller Who Probes With Steady Humor And Astute Political Insight The Dreams Versus The Realities Of Her Characters Elle From The Prizewinning Title Story Unfolds A Series Of Family Snapshots That Illuminate The Landscape Of An Exiled Community Rich In Heritage, Memory, And Longing For The Past In Cuba I Was A German Shepherd Is At Once Tender And Sharp Fanged LA Weekly As Ana Menendez Charts The Territory From Havana To Coral Gables, Exploring Whether Any Of Us Are Capable, Or Even Truly Desirous, Of Out Running Our Origins I thought I would enjoy this novel No, I thought I would LOVE it I wanted to love this novel just because it had to do with the two things I know about since I was born living in Miami and being Cuban I don t know if it s because some of it hits too close to home or I m just inundated by the constant news about Cuba and Cubans, but I didn t love it and that makes me sad and it pains me to give it 2.5 5.This is a collection of eleven short stories mainly about Cuban Americans living in Miami Here s the problem with short stories, or at least in this collection, it doesn t give you enough time to explore the characters much less form an attachment to any of them In some ways, the stories felt superficial, like the author remembered stuff that Cubans went or have gone through and put it in the book with pretty words with no real emotion behind them In other words the story doesn t come from a personal place.It s also vague Extremely vague I hate it s vagueness because then everything is left to interpretation, and sometimes that s not enough for me She never outright says so and so is cheating on this person or so and so lied it s left for you to determine, and although it can be fun guessing what an author meant, I also find it infuriating With each story I was left wondering what happened or asking myself what am I supposed to get out of this What am I supposed to learn from this Some of it sounds forced, especially when she talks about Cuba Again, I think it s because the Cuba that I know and the one she knows or was told about are very different I think this makes the book sound pretentious I think she used beautiful language and vague endings in the hopes that someone will say, ooh that s deep NinaFor a story that claims to be about the Cuban exiled community, I couldn t connect to it as much as I wished I think it s because the author chose to focus on the generation that came right after Castro took over Here s where I get personal I am not from that generation My family is not from that generation My parents lived in Cuba for a majority of their lives before deciding to move to the states 16 years ago at the turn of the millennium Obviously, our ideas and our experiences are MUCH different from the one Menendez writes about in her book That s not to say that I haven t met people who are exactly like the people in her book, but they re not my experiences.Okay, this has been the meanest review I ve ever written, but at least I m being honest I liked a total of 2.5 stories In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd , Confusing the Saints , Hurricane Stories , and Her Mother s House Mostly, because I connected in some way or the other with them I will also agree and say that her prose and imagery is beautiful, and at times they made me stop and just admire her writing For these reasons I feel like I can t give her 2 stars, but it s far from being in my top ten books. A few months ago, I posted in one book community or another, asking for recommendations of Cuban authors At last count I ve read than 30 non fiction books involving Cuban history and or politics, but hadn t read much fiction This was one of the first books recommended to me and I was really excited to read it.While I liked it overall, I had a few problems with it First of all, it was a collection of short stories I am not typically a fan of short stories Though the few collections that really hit me are worth the majority that I hate However, this series was pretty much the epitome of what I dislike about short stories Instead of really being a collection of unrelated stories, it was a series of related stories that should have really had a cohesive narrative and just been a novel When this happens, when a collection of short stories has every story with the same narrator like jerkwad David Sedaris, for example , it just makes me think the writer was too lazy to put in the time making it a novel.Second of all, the stories were really of a 2nd generation Cuban American living in Miami A few of the stories were of her homeland, but for the most part it was a book about being the child of an immigrant and growing up in a community that s made largely of immigrants While that s an interesting enough topic, I ve had enough friends in similar situations that I don t really need to read a series of short stories about it.The writing was fine, but nothing particularly special If it had been the right subject matter, I think I would have liked the writing It was very simple and the point was obviously to tell a story, rather than to fill the pages with flowery prose.In summation If someone ever asks me for a recommendation of a book of short stories about being raised in the U.S as the child of Cuban immigrants, and wants the book in question to be easy to read, I ll know what to recommend. Poignant stories revolving around Cuban exiles and memories of Cuba. This collection of short stories is all about life in Miami as a Cuban exile Some characters make an appearance in than one story, so the stories feel connected yet independent kind of like people that populate them The overall feeling I got from the stories is that among the older generations that came to Miami to escape the revolution, there seems to be a kind of glamorization of life in Cuba before the revolution While they re mostly happy to be free, they don t necessarily regain a sense of home or of belonging in the place they now live like they had in Cuba In the final story, a woman born in Miami shortly after the revolution, after her parents fled Cuba, goes back to Cuba as a journalist to visit the plantation where her mother grew up, and she learns that her mother s memories are half true at best but realizes that those memories are what sustains her mother s self image and so she is reluctant to contradict or even question them when she returns It s a great culminating story for the collection Each story is colorful and entertaining in it s own way, each depicting a different aspect of life in a land that is home even if it doesn t always feel that way, each speaking from a different perspective but with the same voice I m not usually a short story reader, but I enjoyed this collection. In Cuba I was a German Shepherd is an endearing collection of eleven short stories showing scenes from various Cuban people s lives after moving to America As the author is a daughter of exiled Cubans, I had high expectations for this book in terms of real emotions piercing through the text She definitely delivered as even in the short amount of time the reader has with each character, you can almost feel for and with them Throughout the book, the stories shift and flow from past and present to give the reader a complete view on how these people s lives connect and how there are very similar situations and problems present in such different people s lives Ana Menendez does a great job of connecting stories from what seem like random people in ways a reader has to search for Not only is this book an interesting look into other s perspectives, but it is also a compelling read because one can search and analyze each story until they find their own connections due to the non obvious parallels When the point of view switches between third and first person, the reader is able to see different sides of a character In the portions of the book where the narration is in first person, you can feel the emotions of the speaker and how the situations in Cuba are affecting what they go through every day In the portions of the book where the narration is in third person, you can see what s going on with the characters situation and what is going on around them This difference is important throughout the individual narratives because each short story has a certain aspect of the bigger message it is trying to portray In the first short story about the men playing dominoes, an interesting point is made about the Cuban and not Cuban feelings regarding Fidel Castro When one of the men playing dominoes, Maximo, told one of his daily jokes about Fidel, the two men from the Dominican Republic laughed, but were careful not to laugh too hard because they knew that they still didn t understand all the layers of hurt in the Cubans jokes 9 It almost seemed disrespectful to pretend to know what the Cubans were going through, which is a lesson in itself to readers sympathizing with other issues and situations that they do not have to deal with directly Messages like these are common throughout the book and are important for the reader to pick up on, so if you do decide to read this book, I suggest reading while keeping this idea in mind to find the messages that could correlate to your daily life as well Overall, I recommend this book to anyone looking to gain perspective. Menendez created a wonderful short story collection that helped me better understand the conflicts and concerns of Cuban immigrants and those who remain in Cuba Her stories deal with painful losses and separation, cultural misunderstandings, characters who transform and characters who are so traumatized by their experiences that they are unable to make the changes they need to make Her most challenging story is Miami Relatives in which she relies on humans to represent different aspects of Cuba and the Cuban government, which might remind you of Animal Farmbut Menendez is opaque My personal favorite was the first story, which shares the title of the book Four old men gather almost daily to play dominoes in Domino Park two are Cuban immigrants and two are Dominican The Cubans fled Castro s regime, and one in particular feels the loss of status associated with losing his university job in Cuba to run a restaurant in Miami He reveals his pain through elaborate jokes with biting punchlines, which are both funny and horribly sad Through the form of short stories tied to a central theme, Menendez helps underscore the splintered nature of the community that is living on two sides of the Caribbean. The writing in these stories is strong The stories themselves cover all the bases of the Cuban American experience, or at least the experience of those who were dispossessed by Fidel The author does have an annoying habit of having her characters laugh or cry to signal that something was supposed to be funny or sad Pro tip if you need to do that, then maybe your writing isn t so funny. The first story in this book grabbed my attention, with the description of older Cuban immigrants telling jokes while they played dominoes in Little Havana The rest of the stories, which are connected somehow to the first lost me The writing became very abstract and it was extremely hard to find how they were connected to the first story and to understand what it all meant When the author talks about how the grandfather grew a radio out of one ear I continue on just to finish, but with no real enjoyment As I have gotten older I have lost my patience with books that try to be so philosophical that you don t know what the heck they are talking about. This book deals with nostalgia, identity, how to be yourself when you have left all the things behind that made you who you were As a Cuban immigrant myself, this book touched me profoundly But this book is for everyone It is a thoughtful exploration funny, philosophical, sad, and lovely.