Author and University of Michigan professor Ruth Behar was born in Havana, Cuba, and immigrated to New York City with her family in the 1960s, like so many fleeing the Castro regime. In her first novel for young readers, LUCKY BROKEN GIRL, Behar recreates her childhood experience as a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl adjusting to her new life when her American dream is suddenly derailed.
Behar’s novel centers on Ruthie Mizrahi, whose family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English—and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen—a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger and she comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times.
Ruth Behar is an acclaimed author of adult fiction and nonfiction. An anthropology professor at the University of Michigan, she is also co-editor of Women Writing Culture, editor of Bridges to Cuba/Puentes a Cuba, and co-editor of The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World. Her honors include a MacArthur “Genius” Award, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Senior Fellowship, and a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan University.