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Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child…

Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child (edition 1999)

by Elva Trevino Hart

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123897,888 (3.9)1
Title:Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child
Authors:Elva Trevino Hart
Info:Bilingual Review Pr (1999), Paperback, 236 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:autobiographical, abandoned

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Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child by Elva Treviño Hart



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Subtitled: Stories of a Migrant Child. This is a memoir of the author’s childhood, when she and her family would travel from Texas to Minnesota each summer to work the fields.

I found the book compelling and interesting, full of the kinds of childhood memories that were familiar to me – family outings, a mother’s cooking, a father’s expectations and rules, games played, neighborhood fiestas, and a favorite toy received at Christmas. It also had some heartbreaking memories – the loneliness, the feeling of “differentness” or not belonging, and the lack of things we consider basic (like a bed or indoor plumbing). I understood the young Elva’s conflicted feelings about school – wanting to excel at something, yet wanting NOT to be singled out for praise.

Where the book broke down for me was in Part Three, when the adult Elva begins to explore her background as a way of understanding her own emotional / spiritual struggles as an adult. It seemed too much like an assignment a therapist might have given her to keep a journal of her feelings. The result is that I ended the book no longer admiring her for her dedication, industriousness and motivation, but annoyed with her self-absorbed reflection. I’m glad she was able to work through her personal demons, and I’m glad she found her writer’s voice. But I would have been happier with the book if she had ended it sooner. For me, she lost a star with part three.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
RGG: Memoir of a Mexican-American girl whose family does migrant farm work summers in the 1950's and 60's.
  rgruberexcel | Sep 3, 2012 |
From Publishers Weekly
Hart's expressive and remarkably affecting memoir concerns her childhood as the daughter of Mexican immigrants who worked as migrant workers to feed their six children. In 1953, when she was only three, her parents took the family from Texas to work in the fields of Minnesota and Wisconsin for the first time, only to find that in order to comply with the child labor law they had to leave the author and her 11-year-old sister to board in a local Catholic school, where they pined for the rest of the family. Hart remembers other years when the entire family participated in the backbreaking field labor, driven mercilessly by Apa (her father), who was determined to earn enough money to allow all his children to graduate from high school. Apa not only achieved his goal but was able to save $2000 so that Hart could enter college, a step that led to her earning a master's degree in computer science. This account is not, however, an ordinary memoir of triumph over adversity. Instead, Hart eloquently reveals the harsh toll that poverty and discrimination took on her familyAin sharply etched portraits of Ama, Hart's worn-out mother who clearly loved her daughter but was too exhausted to show it; of her brother Rudy, who refused to sit at the back of the bus because he was a Mexican; and of her teenage sisters, who struggled to keep their dignity in the muddy fields. She recalls many painful incidents in school and with childhood friends that stemmed from being Mexican in a small white Texas town. At 17, she drove her father back to Mexico to visit his family; she recalls how he suddenly changed into a happy man who felt at home with his land, his language and his people. This is a beautifully written debut from a writer to watch. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
  wildcatbooks | Mar 8, 2012 |
Elva Treviño is an EXcellent writer; her style is both poetic and easy to read. And, as the youngest child in a large, Mexican-American migrant family, she certainly has a unique story to tell. I love the Spanish words sprinkled through-out. I also like how easily she dips back into her childhood, like it was just yesterday.

Unfortunately, some of the best authors all but ruin books when they pull their own egos into it. Ms. Treviño succumbs to this temptation at the very end, as she talks about her therapy sessions and her comlex sense of identity. At one point she pronounces that SHE is a MEXICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN WRITER! Please, don't tell me something your story already tells me--and so beautifully, too. ( )
  KendraRenee | Jun 2, 2010 |
This is an autobiography of the Elva Treviño Hart's growing up in a migrant farm worker family, spending winter months in south Texas and summers working in Minnesota. The author's father dreamed of all six of his children completing high school. This memoir begins with her childhood struggles and strong family relationships. The youngest child of the family, Elva Hart goes on to complete a bachelor's degree in theoretical mathematics and later a master's degree in computer science/engineering from Stanford University. Her vivid personal story explains how she was able to overcome disadvantages and eventually leave the migrant world to develop her own talents. Read a brief excerpt: A Wriggly Secret http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2001/mayjun/shelf_life/excerpt.html from Stanford Magazine (May/June 2001). (lj) ( )
1 vote eduscapes | Apr 21, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0927534819, Paperback)

A vividly told autobiographical account of the life of a child growing up in a family of migrant farm workers. It brings to life the day-to-day existence of people facing the obstacles of working in the fields and raising a family in an environment that is frequently hostile to those who have little education and speak another language. Assimilation brings its own problems, as the original culture is attenuated and the quality of family relationships is comprimised, consequences that are not inevitable but are instead a series of choices made along the way. It is also the story of how the author overcame the disadvantages of this background and found herself.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:45 -0400)

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