In this unusual story of revolutionary Cuba, 14-year-old Anita must overcome her parents’ resistance, leave her upper class home and life, and join Castro’s brigadistas, young volunteers who rallied to change the country’s widespread illiteracy. After her indoctrination, Anita is assigned to an outlying barrio, where she’s to live with a family of three adults and a small child in a dirt-floored house with no plumbing or electricity. To increase her family’s‘willingness to learn,’ Anita proceeds to help out with everything from livestock chores to laundry.
The young activist’s story makes for a surprisingly moving narrative as she slowly brings about a transformation in her adoptive family. The story is doubly interesting, revealing at least one admirable accomplishment of Castro’s administration through the endearingly presented character of Anita herself.