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Something Fierce

One minute, 11-year-old Carmen is watching her hippy mum put curlers in for the first time, the next she is being dragged with her sister through LA airport with her mother muttering about 'the patriarchy' under her breath. The three of them board a plane that takes them to Peru, next door to the Chile from which the family had fled after Pinochet's coup. Eight days after landing in Lima, and still perplexed by their mother's disguises and lies, they're off again, on a bus bound they know not where. They are then to spend most of the next decade, the 1980s, moving from dictatorship to dictatorship, evading capture, torture and peril at every turn. It is no way to spend your teenage years, until, overnight, it becomes the way Carmen herself chooses.
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About the Author

Carmen Aguirre is a celebrated playwright and actress. She has written or co-written eighteen plays and she had a lead role in Quinceanera, winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. Something Fierce is her first book. She lives in Vancouver.


"Aguirre's riveting memoir chronicles her childhood as the daughter of Chilean resistance fighters. ...Aguirre's writing is splendid; she combines black humor and a sharp intellect and tells her powerful story in grand style."--"Publishers Weekly" "A moving, heart-racing journey through the political landscape of South America during the 70s and 80s told by a brave daughter of the Chilean resistance. An inspiration to anyone who strives to live a life of passion and purpose." --Camilla Gibb, author of Sweetness in the Belly "Aguirre's story is the personal experience of a brave young woman...Something Fierce is raw, courageously honest and funny; an insightful journey into the formation of a revolutionary soul." --"The Globe and Mail" "A coming-of-age story that blends birthday parties and puppy love with indoctrination in the tradecraft of subversion: how to arrange the delivery of secret documents, how to lose a police tail, how to lead a double life." --"Toronto Star" "Carmen writes like someone who knows how it feels to exhale with no certainty that another breath will follow...The stories that fill this book feel like the stories of several lives, not the adventurous, exhilarating and harrowing adolescence and early adulthood of one extraordinary person." --"National Post" "[Aguirre] has crafted a narrative packed with suspense, emotion, and dollops of sardonic humour. Even better, her searing memoir conveys the confusion and heartache of adolescence alongside the violent upheavals of Latin America during the late 1970s...Never polemical or self-pitying, Aguirre has written a crisp, dramatic account of growing up under extraordinary circumstances." --"Quill & Quire" "Aguirre's writing is, indeed, something fierce. That she has finally told this story is a triumph. This extraordinary book is four texts in one: a hilarious, pelvis-rocking story of a young girl on an impassioned journey into womanhood, a harrowing testamen

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