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Lucky Broken Girl

Review

Lucky Broken Girl

LUCKY BROKEN GIRL is the first middle grade novel from the acclaimed author Ruth Behar, who immigrated to the United States in the 1960s from Cuba, and is based on her own childhood experience. The story follows Ruthie Mizrahi, who has recently immigrated to the United States from Cuba and is adjusting to her new home in Queens when she and her family get into a car crash. Ruthie breaks her leg and ends up in a full body cast unable to go to school or leave her bed for months. Ruthie was already feeling like an outsider, but after breaking her leg she feels even more ostracized from the world around her.

"LUCKY BROKEN GIRL is a timely story of diversity, family, and overcoming obstacles. Readers will love Ruthie and her journey from feeling like an outsider to truly feeling apart of her community."

Ruth Behar shares a story of diversity and adversity with LUCKY BROKEN GIRL. In many ways this is the New York City, everyone knows because this story perfectly translates how much of a melting pot of cultures it is. At first, I didn’t know that this story was set in the 1960s because this story is just as relevant today. Ruthie is Jewish and Cuban, who becomes friends with a boy from India, a girl from Belgian, and an artist from Mexico. The cultural diversity of this novel was really beautiful. But the way Ruthie interacted with and found meaning in other people’s culture was even more astounding. Ruth Behar wrote an authentic character who embodied the childlike openness to others. Throughout the story and her time in bed, Ruthie writes letters to figures that will answer her prayers. She begins with God and then begins to address them to Shiva and Frida Kahlo. This repeating motif of acceptance of other people’s cultures made this story even more powerful.

For half of the novel, Ruthie is in a full body cast which limited the setting to her home and bed. Ruthie’s story of overcoming this obstacle is inspiring because of how she adjusted to her situation. Ruth Behar wrote Ruthie very realistically in that she didn’t just accept her situation right away and struggled with it. She even had a difficult time once her leg was healed because she had became so used to the life she had inside her home.

Ruthie’s relationship with her big family as well as her friends brought so much more to the story. Ruthie’s ability to understand culture made those relationships even more powerful. I specifically loved the relationships of Ruthie’s parents. It felt so real to see these two people who were very different, but so in love. There was a thread throughout the story that mainly followed Ruthie’s father of the American dream and the freedom they were seeking as a family moving from Cuba, which made for an interesting juxtaposition with Ruthie being confined to her bed.

LUCKY BROKEN GIRL is a timely story of diversity, family, and overcoming obstacles. Readers will love Ruthie and her journey from feeling like an outsider to truly feeling apart of her community.

Reviewed by Dana Cuadrado on June 27, 2017

Lucky Broken Girl
by Ruth Behar