The new novel by Raul Ramos y Sanchez is quite different from his previous books. In his latest effort "The Skinny Years" Sanchez has mined his memories of being a young Cuban immigrant living in Miami during the 1960's. While this fiction has some elements of autobiography they primarily serve to make this story ring true. Sanchez was there and his protagonist, a youth with the nickname of "Skinny" is slowly becoming a man. We follow Skinny's adventures over a ten year period.
1960's Miami is recreated here with vibrancy and zest. Skinny has many adventures with his friends. He becomes an angsty adolescent. He observes as his best friend sinks into a life of drugs and despair. Skinny's coming of age isn't always smooth. His grandmother wants Skinny to meet a nice Cuban girl. His father is having a difficult time making the transition from the prosperity he had enjoyed in Cuba. Skinny's mom labors as a maid at a hotel to keep food on the family table.
For readers who have read this author's previous somewhat dark alternative history novels "The Skinny Years" is like a ray of Florida sunshine. Sure, there are some difficult times and hardships in this novel but Skinny makes his way past the obstacles, the bad luck, and the hurdles that he faces. This is an uplifting and entertaining tale.
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