Review: My Sorrow. Mi Libertad. by Dr. Robin Harwick

Friday, September 24, 2021

Title: My Sorrow. Mi Libertad.
Author: Robin M Harwick Ph.D
Price: £7.28
Publisher: Qvixote Press
Publication date: 25/06/2021

Hi everyone! How are you doing today? I have the honour of taking part in the blog tour for My Sorrow. Mi Libertad. by Dr. Robin Harwick, today, and I am extremely excited to share my thoughts with you! Massive thanks to Isabelle Kenyon for my gifted copy of the novella, as well as for organising, and letting me take part in, the blog tour. My Sorrow. Mi Libertad. is a young adult novella, however, I think that no matter what age you are, you'll appreciate reading this book and gaining some insight into the life of teenagers living in care. 


My Sorrow. Mi Libertad. shares the story of a fifteen-year-old Didi, whose world is turned upside-down when she is put in foster care while her mother battles heroin addiction and after her father is deported. Set in the United States amidst the opioid epidemic and at a time when many families are being separated due to US immigration policies, My Sorrow. Mi Libertad. exposes the suffering Didi and other youths in care experience, but more importantly, it reveals their resilience. It is a story of strength, determination, and hope as the young characters learn to take control of their destinies.

My Sorrow. Mi Libertad. is a well written novella that portrays how someone's life can turn into a fight for survival, but it also teaches you that there is hope and that life can get better. I read the novella in one sitting as I was moved by the story and I needed to know how Didi May's life would turn out. The main theme of the book is foster care which is a difficult topic to write and read about, but it is a situation that many children and teenagers are faced with every day. From the first chapter, we get an insight into how hard it is for a youth to adjust to foster care, and throughout the book it's evident that teenagers need to adapt constantly to changing environments and also to different social workers. However, it also shows a brighter side as the character of Didi manages to achieve her dreams through determination and hard work, as she finishes school and earns enough money to go to Mexico.

What the novella also highlights is how a youth in foster care needs help, not only from the government but also in the form of support and kindness from other youths in foster care and people such as a group home mum. The character of Mona who lived with Didi had also been through a tough time but she was a motivated individual who worked hard to get out of her situation, however, she was only able to do this due to the support that she got. It was really positive to read how helpful the school and Didi's house mum were to her. In addition to the main theme of foster care, Dr. Hardwick also covers other important issues such as deportation and opioid addiction.

"Some nights in the tent, we allowed ourselves to dream about the lives we wished we could live. It's hard to dream when you're trying so hard to survive."

The characters of Didi May and others, such as the character of her friend Mona, are very realistic and that is not surprising as, in the introduction, Dr. Harwick stated that 'the characters of the novella are based on youth who experienced foster care', although it is a work of fiction. I think incorporating so much truth into a novella definitely makes the reader think about the issues further and also makes them more deeply empathise with the characters. In addition, I think that all of the characters created are distinct, and especially Didi's identity is showcased well as Dr. Harwick incorporated Spanish phrases in the dialogue to convey her Mexican roots.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Overall, I think My Sorrow. Mi Libertad. is a novella that should be read by everyone, not just young adults, as it brings to light issues that many youths and families face on a daily basis, in the United States and in other countries. The novella is an emotional read and Dr. Harwick managed to pen the character of Didi, and her story, in an intimate way that makes the reading experience emotional and meaningful. The novella is a quick read but with a deep message therefore I urge you to read it. It can be purchased on Amazon at this link.

Rating: 5 stars


About the Author

Robin Harwick, Ph.D. is a writer, educator, research scientist, and performer. After years spent coaching youth on how to achieve their dreams - she decided it was time to "walk her talk" and spent a few years traveling with her teen son and too dogs before deciding to make Mexico home! Robin is also the founder and director of The Pearl Remote Democratic High School, a radical school that provides spare for youth to take control of their education. She is published in peer-reviewed journals, blogs, sizes, and anthologies. Her first novel, My Sorrow. Mi Libertad was published in June 2021. 

You can find out more about Dr. Harwick on her website and follow her on Twitter (link), as well as Instagram (link).

It was a great pleasure to take part in the blog tour for My Sorrow. Mi Libertad. and I hope my review interested you in the book. If you're not convinced yet, make sure to check out the other lovely bloggers' reviews!

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