A very engrossing, thought-evoking read. Ruthie comes from Cuba (It's the 1960s). Her family has been chasing the dream of freedom for generations, starting with her grandparents, who fled Poland and Jewish persecution, only to have to flee Castro's reign. This little girl faces a troubling time. While most girls her age are going through puberty and deciding what to wear, Ruthie gets some hard life lessons from her bed, where she lies in a full-body cast for a year.
She learns what being smart is, sees the sacrifices her mother makes, develops patience, acceptance, and most of all, learns how to overcome fear...or well, better said, how to master it, as the fear doesn't really go away. You just push it aside and do.
As Ruthie says at one point in the story...you don't realize how many wonderful people you're surrounded by until something bad happens.
There is so much to learn and take away from this novel. My favorite lesson was about perspective. About how you just have to move your bed to face the window and see things differently. I'll remember this lesson always.
Terrific book, writing, story. It's not just about a family of Jewish Cuban immigrants; it's about acceptance, sacrifices, fears, and growing up. While Ruthie's body wasn't allowed to grow during her casting; her mind certainly did. We can learn a lot from her.