It’s been a while since I reviewed a non-fiction book, and I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a memoir on here before. I read Isabel Allende’s My Invented Country for Latinx Heritage Month (back in October) and as somebody who knew very little about Chile beforehand, it was a great read.
First of all, Allende is hilarious. She has a wry, quiet sense of humour that got me cackling several times in a row, especially with some of her commentaries on Chilean culture and sexism. I much prefer memoirs with a sense of humour, and so despite the dark subject matter, this was a really, really pleasant read. I need to read House of the Spirits at some point, especially since Allende spends some time talking about the similarities between the book and her life. (I’ve been struggling through Love in the Time of Cholera and Marquez might not be for me.)
My Invented Country follows both the path of Allende’s life and the path of Chilean history; her uncle, Salvador Allende, was the first democratically-elected Marxist leader. It was for this reason that Allende had to flee the country after Pinochet’s dictatorship took hold, and she eventually ended up in the U.S. where her second husband is from. Latin American history is not taught at all in Canada, so almost everything in this book was new to me. It also wasn’t hard to follow, which is something I struggle with in memoirs sometimes.