News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Going steady

Number 7 in a series of excerpts from The Skinny Years.

Going steady with a girl usually meant listening to the radio together in her living room and maybe sneaking a peck on the lips before going home. Although Skinny was still stuck in “friend” limbo with Janice, their relationship wasn’t much different—except for the kissing. That furtive brushing of the lips was the momentous line of demarcation between friend and boyfriend.

Surfers, soul brothers, hippies, and thugs — they’re all part of Victor “Skinny” Delgado’s world growing up in Miami during the turbulent 1960s. Fleeing the Castro regime in Cuba, Skinny’s once-wealthy family moves from a mansion in Havana to a roach-infested bungalow in Miami’s low-rent Wynwood district. Over the next ten years the Delgados struggle to survive in this strange new land—a place where fat men in red suits enter your home through the chimney, demons appear at the door begging for candy, and young women go on dates without chaperones. There’s only one constant in Skinny's world as he grows from 8 to 18. He longs in vain for the girl of his dreams: his neighbor Janice Bockman who seems everything American—and everything he’s not.

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