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Family Sentence: The Search for My Cuban-Revolutionary, Prison-Yard, Mythic-Hero, Deadbeat Dadby Jeanine Cornillot
Synopses & Reviews
Jeanine Cornillot was just two years old when her father, a former Cuban revolutionary turned anti-Castro militant, was sentenced to thirty years in a Florida prison for political bombings. His absence left a single mother to raise four children who kept his incarceration a secret and conjured a mythic father-hero out of his occasional letters.
Jeanine's Irish American mother struggled to support the family in suburban Philadelphia. Summers, she put Jeanine on a plane to Little Havana, where she lived with her Spanish-speaking grandparents and bilingual cousin--a sometimes unreliable translator. It was there in Florida that she met her father face to face, in the prison yards.
As Cornillot travels between these two worlds, a wryly funny and unsentimental narrator emerges. Whether meeting her father for the first time at age six and hoping she looks Cuban enough, imagining herself a girl-revolutionary leading protest marches, dreamily planning her father's homecoming after his prison break, or writing to demand an end to his forty-four-day hunger strike after he's recaptured, young Jeanine maintains a hopeful pragmatism that belies her age.
Eventually, a child's mythology is replaced with an adult's reality in a final reckoning with her father, remarkable for the unsparing honesty on both sides.
The daughter of a former Cuban revolutionary turned anti-Castro militant and an Irish-American mother shares childhood memories of meeting her imprisioned father for the first time at the age of six and recounts stories about growing up in Philadelphia an
About the Author
An Emmy Award?winning TV producer, Jeanine Cornillot began her career as a documentary editor, and has written and produced shows for CBS, NBC, ABC, Kids? WB, and VH1. Cornillot has also coproduced a feature public radio documentary based on Family Sentence, which aired on BBC radio. She lives in Los Angeles.
Table of Contents
Five things I know — Kids' guidebook to prison — Open skies — Shadow fathers — Men are people too — The Little Havana abductions — Brothers big and small — Spanish lesson — Man in the house — Good crimes — The hunger letters — Getting by — I [love] Ponch — Postcards from prison — Free at last! — Hard times, again — The worst family reunion ever.
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Biography » General