In the nearly 90 days since the publication of my debut book, Fatherlands: Identities of a Cuban American, I have been heartened by the positive responses from many readers on social media and via emails, text messages and conversations with me. I am also grateful to those readers who took the time to rate the book and post a few sentences or paragraphs about it on the Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.
The first eight ratings on Goodreads averaged 4.75 (on a 5.0 scale). One of the Goodreads reviewers wrote the book was “very compelling and thought provoking” as “the author takes you on his journey through life and the complex, multigenerational family experiences that truly shaped who he is today.”
Another five-star Goodreads review stated, “This was a great book and very easy to read. It was an interesting and informative perspective on growing up Hispanic in a predominately white middle class town.”
But “you don’t have to be Cuban or an American immigrant to enjoy Fatherlands: Identities of A Cuban American. It is filled with many characters, all real, and some you may even recognize from your own family tree,” stated another Goodreads reviewer, who concluded, “How does a scrappy Cuban kid make a name for himself in the U.S. and discover his true identity? Pick up Fatherlands and you will find the answer, and likely a bit of yourself.”
Another Goodreads reviewer wrote that the book “moved me with tears and smiles” and “I believe that this memoir will inspire all of us to find who we really are, as well as where we really come from. His story shows that we Americans truly are a beautiful diverse people!”
The most scholarly review of the book was published on Goodreads on December 26. The four paragraphs from this reviewer, who rated the book the maximum five stars, very succinctly and elegantly captured the essence of my memoir. It opens with the question, “Who are you?” and goes on to state, “The name forms a powerful basis for one’s identity and is a recurrent theme throughout this memoir, starting with the book’s title and the author’s name.” The reviewer then writes, “the author’s name takes the reader along on its own unique journey, becoming a major character in this memoir as the mentor.”
The fourth paragraph of the December 26 Goodreads review of the book begins with, “Perhaps the most powerful of use of the name in Lopez Bruns’ book harkens the practice of damnatio memoriae (condemnation of memory), a form of scrubbing from history,” and concludes, “Lopez Bruns makes clear that identity matters in what we leave out as much as what we share.” You can read the full text of this extraordinary review at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4411415008?book_show_action=false.
The first 11 Amazon reviews of the book averaged 5.0 on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)! One reviewer wrote, “Not knowing what to expect, I began reading the book and found that I could not put it down.” She then stated, “Throughout my reading, some parts were funny, sad, and/or informative. I thoroughly enjoyed the book,” and “I highly recommend this book to everyone, I guarantee you will truly enjoy this read!”
Another Amazon reviewer declared the book was “Fabulous” and went on to state, “I loved this book! The author provides interesting details of his direct experience with encountering cultural and racial issues in such a mature, objective way.”
The first reader to post a review on Amazon, 10 days after the book’s publication, wrote it was “A must read,” and then explained, “Fatherlands is a good read, both entertaining and thought provoking as it follows Charley’s social and cultural assimilation as a young Cuban split between two countries and how this influences him as a child and adult. Never taking his eyes off the rearview mirror, he moves forward as other influences such as people he meets and changing family dynamics shape his future. The result, is a both an inspirational and eye opening book. The days reading this book really felt like time spent with the author as though I actually met him. As a result, I’d like to shake his hand and say ‘buen trabajo.’”
The second Amazon review was headlined, “A great book,” and stated “It was well written” and “It showed the importance of remembering family heritage. I highly recommend this book.”
The first two reviews of my memoir on Barnes & Noble were also five-star ratings. One reviewer stated the book took them “inside the life of a tempest-tossed kid, born in the States but flung back to his family’s Cuban ancestral home, as its revolution raged on, for long enough to have memories that needed piecing back together. It is a wild ride back into new alien environments in New Jersey, with brutally honest family comedy/drama assessments.”
For this Barnes & Noble reviewer, the biggest benefit of my memoir “was a better understanding of the highly complex, sometimes difficult to fathom ‘Cuban Community’ within America’s borders that give the national political parties fits and starts every national election cycle.”
I am heartened and humbled by all these positive reviews of my memoir, which I describe as the book I was meant to write. Thank you very much!
To see all the Goodreads reviews of Fatherlands: Identities of a Cuban American, click here.
To see all the Amazon reviews of the book, click here.
For all the Barnes & Noble reviews of my memoir, click here.
I am also grateful for the attention my debut book has received from local media, including the two Bloomfield, New Jersey, weekly newspapers, and remain determined to increase awareness of my book among more potential readers!
— January 10, 2022