Book Reviews

Book Review: Something Fierce.


This is a gripping, darkly comic, engaging first hand account of a young underground revolutionary during the 1980’s Pinochet regime in Chile.

On September 11 1973 General A. Pinochet removed the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende, from office. Thousands of Chileans were arrested, tortured, killed or simply disappeared.

A few lucky ones were able to flee to Argentina; fewer still managed to travel, and sought political asylum in the USA, Canada, Spain, and other sympathetic European countries.

In 1978 the Chilean resistance issued a call to all those exiled to return to Latin America in an attempt to overthrow Pinochet and “liberate” the country.

Some families sent their children to South American countries to live with their grandparents or relatives who were willing to shelter them. A few went to live with Cuban families.

Carmen was born in Vancouver to exiled Chilean parents who later divorced, but her mother married a Canadian revolutionary called Bob.

Carmen’s parents sent her to La Paz, Bolivia to set up a safe house at a very young age. She later joined the resistance under oath, married, and moved to Neguen in Patagonia, Argentina with instructions to set up a safe house. This dramatic, somehow funny, very open and honest, fluid narrative covers 1979 – 1989 taking the reader inside war ridden Peru, Bolivia, post-Malvinas Argentina, and Pinochet’s Chile.

The writing is passionate, deeply personal, moving and capturing underground revolutionary life very well.

Carmen Aguirre is a screenwriter, an actor and excellent storyteller.

This is her first memoir that tells her gripping story of love, difficult life of underground revolutionaries, and living constantly in fear of being caught.

Highly recommended.

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