Dirty Blonde and Half-Cuban PDF Ô Dirty Blonde

Dirty Blonde and Half-Cuban ❮Epub❯ ➜ Dirty Blonde and Half-Cuban ➛ Author Lisa Wixon – Buyprobolan50.co.uk Based on the wildly popular semi autobiographical Havana Honey series published by Saloncom Dirty Blonde and Half Cuban is a gritty portrait of one woman's determination to infiltrate modern Cuba and Based on the wildly popular semi autobiographical Havana Honey series published by Saloncom Dirty Blonde and Half Cuban is a gritty portrait of one woman's determination to infiltrate modern Cuba and find the father she has never known While on her search privileged American Alysia Briggs ends up broke and alone in Havana Dirty Blonde Kindle - She's then forced to adopt the life of the jineteras educated Cuban women who supplement a desperate income by accommodating sex tourists With an eye for detail and a razor wit Lisa Wixon relates Alysia's journey and creates a love song to Cuba a heartfelt tribute to a resilient people facing soul numbing poverty in a land where MDs and PhDs earn a month and a pair of jeans costs twice as much.

10 thoughts on “Dirty Blonde and Half-Cuban

  1. Shannon (Giraffe Days) Shannon (Giraffe Days) says:

    Alysia Briggs grew up the only child of an American diplomat serving all over the world When her mother is dying of cancer when Alysia is only a child she makes Alysia promise to go to Cuba and find José Antonio her real father Years later Alysia finally talks to her Aunt June her mother's sister who confirms the truth she has a whole family in Cuba she never knew of but they know her She was a baby and a toddler spending a lot of time with her Cuban family and father before the Briggs were moved on to Washington DC Years of being a diligent student and making her father step father happy have not made Alysia forget the promise she made her mother as a child After a fruitless holiday in Cuba with Aunt June that discovered nothing she almost gives up But when she later learns of her aunt's death from her father who deliberately didn't tell her in time for her to visit June Alysia feels so alienated from the man she's known as dad that she forever jeopardises her chances of being an American diplomat herself in order to go to Cuba for a year on a student visa She's got the money her aunt left her and a year to find her real fatherBut Cuba is nothing like America It is a complex country of contrasts With free education and medical care and some of the best doctors in the world people struggle to live on 18 a month if they're lucky Food rationing supplies hard to come by and isolation have created a uniue people with their own social s When Alysia's money is stolen by the family she is lodging with a family of doctors no one is surprised and the police just shrug Destitute and homeless Alysia is helped by a doctor Camila who finds her a new place to live an illegal setup in a country where everything is regulated by the government but where everyone is forced to do whatever they can for some extra cash And so Alysia does what so many others in the country do including her friend Camila the oldest job in the world But in Cuba as Camila explains it's not prostitution It's an art form Like the courtesans and geishas of cultures mostly long gone being a jinetera is about being sexy intelligent a good listener socially adept and yes great in bed The remittances from these foreigners women as well as men is the biggest source of income in the economy bigger than tourism It is a serious profession with some women and men doing it full time and others like Camila doing it to supplement their legitimate incomeAlysia is not good at being a jinetera but she gets a bit of money along the way enough to pay her rent and the many bribes she has to pay to people to help her find her father Along the way over the course of the year she learns about her homeland the country where she was born and tries to understand it through her American cultured eyes So that when she does finally meet her real father the decision of whether to stay in Cuba or return to America becomes the toughest of allThis novel began life as an online series called Havana Honey at Saloncom and it does have a tendency to read as the primary textbook disguised as chicklit or vice versa? for young affluent white American women studying Cuban Culture 101 But to dismiss it as such would be to ignore its many positives Either a novel with a journalistic bent or a freelance journalism piece presented as a novel it is highly readable and plenty educational as well as being a good if at times cliched story What Wixon lacks in terms of original prose or fresh characters she makes up for in many other waysFirst of all it will teach you the non Cuban probably white western reader about modern day Cuba or Cuba in the mid two thousands anyway before the embargo was sort of lifted in 2009 Wixon doesn't smother you in history but parcels out fascinating bits here and there that provide context and enlightenment for what Alysia is experiencing And because the story is told through Alysia's eyes and in her voice it is of course a white affluent western perspective on this uniue country I was worried that being written by an American it would be judgemental or on the flip side too romantic It is neither It doesn't pass judgement and while it is sympathetic towards Cuban citizens it neither dramatises their everyday lives nor glosses over unsavoury facts or ignores the positives There is drama though lots of it and it can come across as a bit overly dramatic because of the writing this is Wixon's debut novel so I cut her some slack It's too entertaining to uibble over the way it's writtenAnd there are many positives about Cuba It leads the world in many areas especially health care and education I myself attended a presentation by a leading Canadian expert Dr Fraser Mustard recently passed away sadly on early child development and the need to combine free health care with free education from before birth and contributed hugely to music and other aspects of culture the world over But it has also suffered It is worth noting that Wixon never mentions Castro either of them never talks in broader terms about the government only in the context of the effect on the people Alysia meets and for the impact on her America's invasion of Ira for example which occurs during Alysia's year in Cuba 2005 comes up a few times because this is also a country of highly politicised peopleIn the context of the jockeys or jinetera the broader economic and political context of the country is hugely relevant It is a matter of survival and no one looks down on a jinetera or labels them sluts Take her friend Camila a heart surgeonin her teens and twenties she entertained foreign dignitaries at the behest of her government As a reward for her success and beauty and brilliance and upon finishing medical school she was granted the prestigious position as head of the renowned heart institute And with it continued access to foreign menCamilla talks about receiving regular remittances from sometimes handsome but always wealthy suitors abroad About the countless marriage proposals she's turned down to stay in her country with her family To continue la lucha The struggleCamila graduated top of her class She speaks five languages Dignitaries from Mexico and South America and the Middle East subject their hearts to her expertise in medical matters and those of love The modern day courtesans in Cuba and most particularly in Havana speak foreign tongues and hold respected degrees In a society that praises a woman's sexual talents and beauty and makes no judgement on the trading of those for money the Cuban courtesan the jinetera lures the most discriminating men in the world Prostitutes accept pay for one night she says with a dismissive wave Jineteras use their education and skills to weave fantasies of love Our eyes meet in the reflection of the mirror Never forget that distinction pp57 8It's fascinating the complexity of a country where doctors lawyer architects engineers and others who in western countries are at the top earning range earn next to nothing in Cuba mostly because of the trade embargo so that there's no money to pay doctor's salaries there are no buildings to be built or wealthy clients to defend at court In fact it is the maids and bartenders who earn the most and have the sought after jobsEl Floridita's barkeeps have the snappiest job in Havana and are paid far better than engineers or lawyers Leonel and Chico both hold PhDs in engineering and practiced their trade for several years before being rewarded with the lusted after slots as rum pullers Hotel maids tour guides and taxi drivers are in fact the best paid legal professions in the country Many who hold them consider themselves lucky and have typically given up previous careers in accounting management and dentistry p153It is a country of contradictions and polar opposites and Alysia is vividly aware that her North American upbringing hasn't prepared her to understand these many shades of grey that are constantly in flux I'm unaccustomed to the Latin way that idea that opposing beliefs can be held simultaneously in one human heart without a need for settlement p101 Alysia brings with her a whole shitload of American white privileged s expectations and values much like the book's readers Forced to do the one thing her upbringing has taught her to feel immense guilt and shame for just in order to survive and fulfil her uest her journey to find her father it is like stripping her of everything familiar and drenching her in the truth of what it means to be really Cuban not just pretending at it though there are times like when there's no toilet paper for sale that she uses her US passport to go to the hotel bathroom reserved for touristsIn my own country in my social circles back home broadcasting one's sexuality with provocative dress or demeanor is frowned upon as is an aggressive chasing of men These things happen of course but where I come from the art is in the subtleties In Cuba I'm adjusting to the extremes Men are expected to be men and women are expected to be women and jineteras are expected to pursue yumas with the voracity of a firefighter suelching a schoolyard blaze I've never felt completely comfortable with my womanliness Here I've been forced to harness my sexual power put it on display and market my goods to those who can provide security It's both liberating and terrifying p113You definitely get a feel for Cuba and Havana in particular less so the rural areas as Alysia doesn't travel there The urban landscape is rich colourful a bizarre mix of 1950s glam and poverty It's the people who make the place and it's a novel that's deeply respectful of the people their choices and their pride in their country That comes across clear that Cubans both want to prosper and do better even if it means leaving and taking their chances in the US and have immense pride in being Cuban and what they fought for Yes there's propaganda in that but every country has that a national identity espoused enthusiastically and believed in That's what makes a unified country The difference is with Cuba that when these highly educated people living in often extreme poverty have an opinion different from those in power they must keep it to themselves or risk being arrested It is sad to think of the countries in the world for it isn't just Cuba look at China etc where the government doesn't trust its own people Like in a family that's no way to raise childrenDirty Blonde and Half Cuban isn't a story about sex it's a story about the people of Cuba and on the narrative front a story about an American discovering her Cuban heritage trying to fit in and ultimately deciding where she belongs in the world While I liked her final decision I had to roll my eyes at the novelisation of it it was classic Hollywood B grade film a light summer hit that obeys the formula to a T It was the most disappointing thing about the entire book But I loved that it delved into the lives of the people rather than get sidetracked by the intense political history of the country or take sides And if it had to do it through the eyes of someone like Alysia well when you're writing from the comfort of your western home about a country like Cuba that's really the only way you can do it And at least Wixon based it on her own experiences; the book doesn't pretend to be something it isn't So while I found the writing to be a bit formulaic at times and Alysia's perspective to be confoundingly white east coast affluent conservative the journey into the heart of Havana's people was profound enlightening and highly enjoyableI'd still love to read something written by a Cuban author though if anyone has any recommendations?

  2. Cristi Romney Espinosa Cristi Romney Espinosa says:

    This book was highly recommended to me by a friend from book club and fellow Goodreader I was excited to start it because when someone feels so passionate about a book I'm always intrigued and want to read for myself what the fuss is about This book took hold of me from the very beginning The descriptions were right up my alley The metaphors and similes long and descriptive were perfect The story itself was also intriguing A 13 yr old whose mother dies of cancermy story exactly Only with a twist The man she always called Dad is not her real father And her mother's dying wish is that she get to know her real father in Cuba I did not expect the extended stay in Cuba where Alysia now grown searches for her father But the inside peek at the life of a jinetera is amazing Jinteras are not prostitutes Not in the traditional sense and through the story I could sympathize with the jineteras and the choice they make to live in that world I can't imagine choosing that life over one here in the US but I suppose it would always depend on the situation There is a love story of course and it somewhat subdues the reality of jineterismo In context the lifestyle is not offensive or frightening It is simply a way of life And one can understand the need for it and the pride Wixon says the jinteras feel for helping their families in the only way possible I think that being Cuban American myself I saw this story differently than maybe someone else would I can't imagine the people in Cuba who choose to live there I see the faces of the men women children mothers fathers brothers sisters who leave Cuba risking everything even their lives in order to find freedom I then find it difficult to believe that someone would choose to stay in Cuba and live a life as a jinetera rather than come to the US and try to make a life But of course each person has their own choices to make and their own list of pros and cons just as Alysia had in the novel And sometimes the best choice for one person would not be the best choice for another I have already recommended the book to several other people It is a must read And despite the heavy subject matter it is light hearted fun and happier than one might expect

  3. Judy Judy says:

    I read this for my One Book At A Time reading group We all mostly are drawn to a Cuban setting but due to some reviews I read I had my doubts this time So much so that I almost skipped the whole enterprise I am glad I didn'tThe writing is not great at least for a novel format As it turns out the author had a series on Saloncom called Havana Honey loosely based on her experiences in Cuba She developed that into a novel which explains the writing style to meAlysia Briggs a privileged American young woman bound for college and a career in diplomacy had made a death bed promise to her mother to find her real father who is Cuban The summer before starting college she decides to go and fulfill her promise At the time travel between America and Cuba is heavily restricted but her American father pulls some stringsAlysia arrives in Cuba and all the cash she brought with her is promptly stolen Because she is on a two month student visa she is not allowed to have a job She uickly learns that not much in Cuba is as it seems that many women and men have a second job as sex workers and she ends up joining them as a way to make some cash She makes a friend who is a surgeon by day earning less than 100 a week and is one of the jineteras on the side The woman becomes her mentor Their clients are wealthy touristsIn some ways the novel is a companion to my recently read Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis Benn Except while that book was sad this one is lighthearted Eventually I got involved in all of Alysia's adventures as she learned the trade while continuing to search for her real fatherMost of all I liked the story for its look into what life in Cuba was like in the early 2000s It was eye opening I also learned that not all sex workers are abused slaves as the news would suggest Not that I don't abhor the practice of indentured women; I do However since the beginning of time women have practiced prostitution as a solution to making a living I have decided that the distinction is worth making In any case what has happened to the Cuban people is the bigger crimeOnce again I took a chance on a book and came away with new knowledge about the world

  4. Joyce Joyce says:

    How could I not read this? The title alone describes meIn Alysia’s uest to find her father she finds a heritage she didn’t know she inherited Losing all of her money forced her to truly embrace the hard life there She found what it meant to be Cuban and what her mother had given up It’s a gritty story It’s raw and made me wince than once There’s some disturbing challenges she faced and witnessed It’s not whimsical or romantic But it’s real and in that way it is heartwarming In the end she had to answer the uestion we all should ask ourselves what is most important in life? She weighs the pros and cons of socialism and freedom luxury and hardship family and friends and uestioned her morality and pride and had to decide what all those things truly meant It was a fascinating glimpse into everyday Cuba without judging any side of politics I do recommend it

  5. Tejas Janet Tejas Janet says:

    Would give 35 stars if possible Uneven but interesting At times insightful at times melodramatic Might have been stronger as a nonfiction story rather than fictionalized semi autobiographical

  6. Erin Erin says:

    A seriously interesting and surprising look at life in modern Cuba Told from the perspective of a young American woman living in Havana on a student visa while searching for her father Gritty and funny and sad and hopeful

  7. Lisa Lisa says:

    I feel like a lot of it didn’t add up Her real Cuban father had been living in the US the whole time and he knows she goes to Cuba to find him but then asks his friend to look after her and knows about her having to work as a sex worker but says he didn’t know it was because she was financially in trouble? She was working as a freaking prostitute Why else would you do that? It’s interesting to see the author justify this form of prostitution as survival by crafting it as an experience necessary for survival except she totally sucks at it For having grown up in the foreign service she had no common sense but at least she had the strength to live a life without the creature comforts her mother was afraid of I also wasn’t a fan of white girl discovering she’s Latina just so she could pass it off as it somehow making her extraordinary She has loaded first world hangups but actually feels like what she’s doing makes her on par with the Cuban people because now she’s finally suffering like her countrymen when really it was self imposed exile she could’ve had money sent to her at any given moment but chose to be martyr instead Having been to Cuba twice the descriptions made me want to go back all over again it truly is one of the best places I’ve ever been but not all what she describes here

  8. K.C. K.C. says:

    There were some decent moments and she did a decent job capturing the feel of Cuba but overall but I found the book repetitive and at times nonsensical She did a poor job connecting moments and characters that she labored to create I did not believe in Alysia and Rafael's love She gave no foundation for it I also feel the conclusion was hasty Most of all I was put off by the descriptions of Afro Cubans In Cuba they are simply Cubans but Wixon went out of her way to differentiate between Cubans of different skin tones It's true there is colorism and prejudice in Cuba as there is all over the world but Wixon went out of her way to talk of the beauty of light skinned Cuban women and painted darker Cubanas as other and victims She never once said they were beautiful but only desired by foreigners on sex tours so that they could work out master and slave narratives It was gross and unsettling It saddens me that she lived in Cuba for a year and apparently has good Cuban friends and yet she doesn't understand a vital part of the Cuban people's history and used her first novel to reinforce ugly beauty and value tropes

  9. Nancy Peterson Nancy Peterson says:

    What I found fascinating about this book was the underbelly of Cuban society and economy The storyline about a daughter going to Cuba to find her father and other relationships along the way is interesting too But the different orientation towards sex money power and prestige is an eye opener and worth the read

  10. Seferina Limones Seferina Limones says:

    When I first bought this book I was just interested in it because of the title and the cover art As I read it however I was captivated This story is a woman´s struggle in her homeland to find her father and learn of her true culture Seeing Cuba through her perspective has made me add it to my list of countryies to visit The way she describes how difficult life is for the average Cuban made me realize that people who complain about life in America are just plain ignorant I suggest this book for anyone who has never been outside the comfort of their nation to see that life here is sheer luxuary and that they should not take what we have for granted This book does have sexually explicit passages just a warning for those who can not handle a raw story

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