Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (Paperback)
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#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER (The Globe and Mail)
A Globe and Mail Best Book 
A Quill & Quire Book of the Year 
A National Post Best Book 
A BBC Radio Book of the Week [October 2011]
One of the CBC’s 15 Memoirs by Canadian Women Worth Reading 
Six-year-old Carmen Aguirre fled to Canada with her family following General Augusto Pinochet's violent 1973 coup in Chile. Five years later, when her mother and stepfather returned to South America as Chilean resistance members, Carmen and her sister went with them, quickly assuming double lives of their own. At 18, Carmen became a militant herself, plunging further into a world of terror, paranoia and euphoria.
Something Fierce takes the reader inside war-ridden Peru, dictator-ruled Bolivia, post-Malvinas Argentina and Pinochet's Chile in the eventful decade between 1979 and 1989. Dramatic, suspenseful and darkly comic, it is a rare first-hand account of revolutionary life and a passionate argument against forgetting.
About the Author
CARMEN AGUIRRE is a Vancouver-based writer and theatre artist who has worked extensively in North and South America. She has written or co-written 20 plays, including The Refugee Hotel, which was nominated for a 2010 Dora Mavor Moore Award for best new play. Her most recent one-woman show is Blue Box. Aguirre has 60 film, TV and stage acting credits, including lead roles in the Showcase series Endgame andQuinceañera, winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. Something Fierce won Canada Reads in 2012, was a finalist for the Charles Taylor Prize, and was a #1 National Bestseller.
"A coming-of-age story that blends birthday parties and puppy love with indoctrination in the tradecraft of subversion: how to arrange the delivery of secret documents, how to lose a police tail, how to lead a double life." Toronto Star
"Raw, courageously honest and funny; an insightful journey into the formation of a revolutionary soul." The Globe and Mail
“Carmen’s book managed to stir my creative imagination, political conscience, and most importantly, my compassion. Speaking to the merits of Something Fierce on CBC’s Canada Reads 2012 program was a thrill and one of the great privileges I’ve had in my career.” Shad, JUNO Award–winning rapper
“Aguirre, who also works as a playwright, has the dramatist’s touch and finds a way to tell a difficult tale with narrative grace.” National Post (Best Book)
“A riveting testimonial of bravery and fear. . . . Something Fierce is more than a journey into the shadows of political repression. What could have been a narrative of unremitting horror is relieved by joyous occasions—an idyllic holiday with Chilean grandparents, several adolescent love affairs—and by poetic descriptions of surroundings. . . . She has inherited the heart of a revolutionary, so the struggles for justice and freedom will continue, on the page, or on the stage.” BC BookWorld
“Frank, clean prose, vulnerable yet devoid of bathos. . . . Carmen writes like someone who knows how it feels to exhale with no certainty that another breath will follow. . . . Carmen possesses a tremendous gift for evoking the past through details such the smell of a rose bush, a village burning somewhere in the Andean night as glimpsed from a passing train, or the weird stillness of a house filled with glass poodles perched on white doilies. . . . Deliciously dark humour . . . permeates this book. . . . The adventurous, exhilarating, and all too often harrowing adolescence and early adulthood of one extraordinary person.” José Teodoro, National Post
“It’s a spellbinding, important, informative and wildly entertaining story. Aguirre’s playwriting background shows in the active scenes. Her writing never tries to reach above the story. She is to the point and cutting.” Telegraph-Journal
“[Aguirre] has crafted a narrative packed with suspense, emotion, and dollops of sardonic humour. Even better, her searing memoir conveys the confusion and heartache of adolescence alongside the violent upheavals of Latin America during the late 1970s. . . . Never polemical or self-pitying, Aguirre has written a crisp, dramatic account of growing up under extraordinary circumstances.” Quill & Quire (Book of the Year)
“The Chilean diaspora that fled after General Pinochet’s coup produced poignant poetry and folk songs. Yet until now it has been difficult to find a convincing memoir of the experience. Carmen Aguirre has plugged this gap. . . . This memoir’s piercing eye for detail and exceptional emotional openness draws the reader into a harrowing world.” The Times Literary Supplement
“Riveting. . . . While adroitly chronicling her remarkable childhood within the constricted world of exiled revolutionaries, Aguirre simultaneously untangles the complex political, economic, and cultural currents sweeping South America, ushering in the brutal Pinochet dictatorship. Aguirre’s writing is splendid; she combines black humor and a sharp intellect and tells her powerful story in grand style.” Publishers Weekly
“A stirring account of a revolutionary’s girlhood.” Booklist
“Funny and self-deprecating. . . . Entertaining.” Kirkus Reviews