by: Ruth Behar
Published by:Nancy Paulsen Books
Genres:Middle Grade, Historical Fiction
Based on the author's childhood in the 1960s, a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl is adjusting to her new life in New York City when her American dream is suddenly derailed.
Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro's Cuba to New York City. Just when she's finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood's hopscotch queen, a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. As Ruthie's world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger. She comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times.
‘Lucky Broken Girl’ is a middle-grade novel about a girl named Ruth. Ruth is growing up in 1960’s NYC. Her family is Jewish and Cuban . It is a semi-autobiographical novel about Ruth Behar’s childhood. ‘Lucky Broken Girl’s focus is on the year Ruth was in a full body cast following a car accident.
‘Lucky Broken Girl’ gives the reader a unique perspective about childhood injury. It explored, in gritty detail, the boredom, humiliation, sadness, and fear that Ruth experienced during her year in bed.
This story was well written and I loved that none of the characters were picture perfect. Ruth could be whiny and self adsorbed at times. Her father is macho and controlling. While her mother is often resentful of Ruth’s situation.
‘Lucky Broken Girl’ is richly detailed. The diversity was well done and the history in ‘Luck Broken Girl’ was amazing. Ruth and her family are Cuban but are also Jewish so they demonstrate a wealth of cultural identity. Ruth also has a friend who is Indian so there was a lot of information about Indian culture and beliefs. This also made an amazing background story. Ruth’s grandparents had left Europe during the buildup to the World War II and then had to leave Cuba during the revolution. Ruth’s family members were often yearning for their previous lives.
I will say that I felt like the middle of the story dragged. I would have liked to have more cultural traditions or flashes back to Ruth’s families past reverences. Something to connect the reader more to the family.
I loved ‘Lucky Broken Girl’s’ unique perspective, time period, and diversity. With its rich cultural diversity and description of childhood injury, ‘Lucky Broken Girl’ is definitely an eye-opening book for middle-grade readers.