The Red Umbrella The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez is a novel based on the experiences of her parents as they tried to escape Fidel Castro’s regime. Lucia Alvarez, the main character describes each event, from the moment the Operation Pedro Pan started, until she lives in the United States; she has to go though a lot of things such as watching the hanging of a man at a park, her best friend turning into a revolutionary and her family being betrayed by her uncle. As the book goes on, besides seeing all of Cuba’s changes we are also present in Lucia and Frankie’s most difficult times.
When Lucia and Frankie are sent to the United States, they start a new and different life. The moment they arrive, they are separated, being together was the only thing that they had left, and luckily they are able to find a home to live together within days. When Lucia and Frankie move with the Baxters’, it is all new to them, they went from living on an island to living in a farm where the weather is cold and very different form Cuba, additionally, being in Nebraska wasn’t like being in Cuba or Miami, were you could find someone that spoke Spanish to you, therefore the language was also an obstacle that they were able to overcome.
Aside from this, what was harder for Lucia and Frankie was being away from their parents, because even though the Baxters’ were great nothing can compare to the love and care from your mom and dad, which this is one of the ways I could personally identify with the novel and my transition through college. Being independent is much harder than we think; Lucia and Frankie showed it to us every step of the book.
When I started college at Florida International University, it felt like I started a new and different life; having school five minutes away from my house, waking up to have break fast done by my mom, not having any homework, not reading, not writing…are only a few of the changes that I’ve been through as college began.
Independence is the world I could use to define this new life, and I believe it would be the word that Lucia would use to describe hers. Living without parents is a big responsibility, and to me is it the biggest challenge of all; parents are always trying to push you to be better, they are always trying to help you, always trying to make everything more comfortable for you…they always want he best for you, and not having them with you is not bad, but it implies more responsibility, not only with school but also with your self because now you have to feed your self and go to the doctor by your self. Additionally, when Lucia started school in Nebraska she had to study harder than before because English wasn’t her native language and that is another thing that I could relate to, reading and writing to me seem like another language, since it was never something that I had to do in high school.
Now I know that in order to do good in school and make my parents proud, like Lucia wanted with her parents, I have to work for it, and give myself an extra push, now that I don’t have anybody telling me to do it, like my mom used do or like Frankie’s mom used to do it with him The story of Lucia in The Red Umbrella was very inspiring to me, especially because I saw myself in a lot of her actions and attitudes towards many situations.
I know that being in college is not exactly the same as being in Nebraska, but I see how wonderful Lucia and Frankie did when they were away from home, calling and sending letters to their parents as often as they could was what got to me the most, because I know it is what I am missing the most, although I love my parents, they are not always the phone call of the day. Definitively if I could learn one thing from the book is to stay close to the love ones no matter how far away you are.