A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to Freedom
by Desi Sanchez
Stratton Press

"I did not support the new sheriff in town. I concluded that it was time to get the hell out of here!"

A young adult when Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, Sanchez had a front-row seat to see the changes happen to his country. The same year his parents divorced was the same year that his home country started changing in ways that would have him eventually thinking of how he could escape. Many changes didn’t affect him at first. However, as a lover of women, his first outrage at the new government was when they closed down the prostitution houses. “Who took my prostitutes away?” is the title of one chapter.

This memoir does a good job of capturing the reader’s attention to tell the story of one man’s experience living in, and then trying to escape, Cuba. The author is honest and candid about his life, including his loves, his shortfalls, and his successes. He shares his experiences with school, religion, family, friends, and jobs. Besides noticing when the women are taken away, he learns more about socialism when a friend recommends three books for him to read: The New Class by Milovan Djilas, Animal Farm by George Orwell, and The Church of Silence in Slovakia by Theodoric Zubek. When he finds other people who are not following the party line, he then recommends those books to them.

In the end, the book is a story of survival, but the author tries to keep the situations lighthearted. It may be that telling the tale through the lens of time makes the events seem less harrowing than they were when he originally experienced them. Readers who love memoirs or want to learn more about life in Cuba when Castro took control will find this a fascinating, true tale.

Return to USR Home