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Lucky Broken Girl: 12/03/17

Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar

Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar is an autobiographical novel inspired by the author's time spent in a full body cast in the early 1960s. The time covered in this novel is about two and a half years.

Ruthie Mizrahi and her family have emigrated to New York City from Cuba. With the help of her neighbor and classmate from Indian, the two of them rise out of the "dumb class" — the class for English learners.

From there it seems everything is up. They're pulling their own in the regular class. Ruthie is the neighborhood queen of hopscotch. Her Papi has bought the family a beautiful new car.

And then everything goes horribly wrong. There's an accident. People die. The car is destroyed. Ruthie ends up in a full body cast. She's left at home with her mother's care and a tutor from the school.

The bulk of Lucky Broken Girl is about Ruthie's recovery. It comes with soul searching. It comes with anger. It comes with homesickness for Cuba. It comes with her secular Judaism — and lessons learned from her Yiddish speaking grandmother.

Because it's based on actual events, it's not a picture perfect story. It's messy. It can rely on tropes or stereotypes. While it has a happy ending, there's a lot of anger and heartbreak in between.

Lucky Broken Girl is still relevant with its themes of immigration. It presents people as more than singular elements of their culture. Ruthie is a full realized, believable child. She is relatable.

Five stars

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Thursday, December 07, 2017 at 08:21:48


This story has to be very emotional, I can't imagine spending any time in a full body cast! and it's a story about immigration and the American Dream which I love :)

Comment #2: Monday, December 11, 2017 at 21:09:00


It's worth the emotional ups and downs. You'll come out the other end a better person for reading the book.

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