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Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
"Shattered Paradise: Memoirs of a Nicaraguan War Child" is Ileana Araguti's life story. As a child, she grows up in an isolated farm house near a mystical city dubbed as the City of Mist. Her grandfather Abuelo Lalo tells her stories that ground her to her country's folkloric culture. Carefree and innocent, she is the eighth child of a womanizing father who is believed to have sired twenty children. Her mother turns to religion for solace and cannot do anything but shed tears. Meanwhile, Nicaragua is in turmoil and President Somoza is defeated. A revolutionary war followed and Ileana's mother makes a decision that will change their lives forever. Ileana is not a child anymore and she has to face the harsh realities of life.
Author Ileana Araguti's writing style is said to be influenced by her Nicaraguan grandfather. It is lyrical and poetic and borders on the mystical. In her book "Shattered Paradise", she writes of a childhood that is set in a magical place. Indeed, this is a child that grows up in a paradise on earth but as she grows up, her paradise is shattered. At the age of twelve, the author's life changed forever and this book is a tribute to her childhood, her mother and to Nicaragua. Descriptive and imaginative, the book brings the reader to this magical land with its diminishing wildlife, its struggles against the influence of the Spanish missionaries and its people who are deeply attached to their folkloric culture. The author writes from her heart and this is one of the reasons why her story is both compelling and interesting.