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It is social commentary by observation and recording, much like People of the Abyss and other works. I was able to recognize the time and place and many of the names used. It is a bit of a dry read, after all, it is a diary.
One of the reasons I find it important is in how it shows how little has changed despite all the struggle. In fact, life on Earth is getting to be more of struggle even though we have the means to relieve much suffering, both old and new.
I thought this was well worth my time. I also think it is critically important to read the afterword. You will know why after you are finished. Feb 24, Lauren added it Shelves: In high school, I'd sneak into the library at lunch or while skipping phys ed to read a few more pages of this book. It felt intimate, almost wrong to read. De Jesus is a gifted, emotive writer, burning to escape the impasse of the favela. Her daily entries are personal, pained, even mildly arrogant can you blame someone who strives so hard to write that she searches the drug-infested streets for any loose slip of paper to write on?
I don't know what else to say about this except that it's a In high school, I'd sneak into the library at lunch or while skipping phys ed to read a few more pages of this book. I don't know what else to say about this except that it's an amazing document of poverty.
These don't come around often. Jun 15, Histteach24 rated it it was ok. I know it is a classic, and I feel for her plight-but this was tough to get through. I was amazed at how well versed she was for having had only a 2nd grade education. The repetitive diary entries were just agonizing to get through however. Read this for a school book list recommendation-for that purpose I would rate the book higher than 2 stars. Reading it for enjoyment would not be first on my list.
For use in the classroom-she describes the life of the poor in Brazil beautifully.
1960 - Quarto de despejo - Carolina Maria de Jesus.
It is a raw I know it is a classic, and I feel for her plight-but this was tough to get through. It is a raw account, and one that is probably rare to find in written form.
Great piece of history. I was devastated to research that her life after the book did not end well.
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I asked many of the same questions that critics did-why not demand money from the fathers of her children? Would she have run the risk of losing her children if she had? Why refuse money when men offered? Was her pride her downfall in the end? As savvy as she seemed to be when it came to survival, did she lack the business sense to continue to profit from her book sale?
Yet the feminist part of me was proud of her for not lowering her standards and doing everything she could to provide for her children when so many others in the slums starved to death. Can we really ever move away from our past-or is it always a part of us? In the end, do we die into what we were born?
Um relato marcado pela fome, a pobreza, a vontade de morrer, mas seguir vivendo. Realistic, heavy as it should be, but at the same time, lyrical, highly politicized, conscious and contemporary despite having been written nearly six decades ago.
Sep 22, Wall-to-wall books - wendy rated it it was ok. That's what I always start with when I have to give a bad review. I did not like this book at all. I feel I was being generous by giving it 2 stars. OK, here' goes - I did not expect a great work of literature, I knew this was written by a woman living in the slums, that is not what bothered me about this book. I didn't mind the simpleness of it. You are hungry, your children ar UGH!!! You are hungry, your children are hungry. I know its sad!
But I don't need to read the same thing 20, times. She started "making love" with strangers when she was a teenager! Take some blame!!!
She never says "maybe I shouldn't have done that, or - I have made mistakes, or - I would do it differently. I know that back in the 50's the government in Brazil basically sucked! I agree! But she is constantly expecting the government to walk in and "fix" everything. Quote - "The Politicians must give us things.
That includes me too, because I am also a flavelado one who lives in the slums " She says things like this through the whole book. Quote - "If I'm dirty, its because I don't have soap" She say things like "I didn't wash today because I didn't have money for soap.
I don't think I would just go dirty complaining that I couldn't download soap. And they did have water, they had to walk to get it, but it was there. This person hit that person. This 40 yr old is fighting with a 5 yr old boy. She threw stones at him, He spit on her.
But she turns them away! Quote - "There is a Portuguese here who wants to live with me. But I don't need a man.
Then later about a different person she says, "I slept with him. And the night was delicious. Just that she believes they didn't do it. Or gives the excuse that are poor, or that they are young. She doesn't tell of her love for her children at all. She does say that she doesn't like leaving them alone, but that's as close as she gets. She doesn't tell of everyday life. Or what it is like in Brazil. It is just who did what to whom.
Who is sleeping with whom. I need this and I need that.
This book could have been at least interesting - if she had included any details or descriptions of anything. To me, very disappointing book! This book got real mixed reviews, it got some 1's and 2's but also got some 5 stars! I just don't see it. Feb 18, Kathleen rated it liked it Shelves: The daily struggles of an impossibly poor woman living in a shanty-town within a Brazilian city.
It's somewhat grueling to read - day after day she goes out and looks for paper and trash to sell, raids trash cans for food, wonders what she is going to feed her children. Must have been even more grueling to live The remarkable thing is that Carolina had only 2 years of education as a child, and retained a thirst to read and write her entire life.
The afterword to this book as interesting as the The daily struggles of an impossibly poor woman living in a shanty-town within a Brazilian city. The afterword to this book as interesting as the book itself - for larger society had complex reactions to Carolina and largely rejected her for not fitting their expectations. Oct 12, Steph rated it it was ok. I hated this book, but feel guilty about it.
What can you do? View all 3 comments. Sep 14, Jess rated it it was amazing Shelves: This should be required reading for everyone in America. It offers a view of poverty that we, as a privileged nation, rarely see and therefore have no understanding of it and its implications.
Feb 26, Eve rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a tough book to review, to be honest. I found the preface and the afterword very interesting, but the diary less so. At first, I had a hard time getting into it because of the short, choppy sentences, which are understandable because Carolina had only two years of education AND it was written as a daily chronicle of life in the favela, not as a piece of literature.
It's not meant to be an example of great writing; rather, it is incredibly r 3. It's not meant to be an example of great writing; rather, it is incredibly raw and serves to really transport the reader to what life was like in the favela for Carolina. It's important to note that this was not her intention in writing the diary: The diary was not started for public consumption, but the reporter's opinion did impact how she wrote the diary going forward, such as leaving out the name of Vera's father by his request.
I am really intrigued by the question presented in the afterword: It's partly the reason I'm having such trouble with my review. I will say that I like it a lot more as a historical document than as a work of literature.
It is incredibly repetitive with her details about getting water, selling paper and other scrap material, and the fights that occur in the favela. The reader is introduced to a wide cast of characters, some of whom only appear once and others who appear randomly throughout the diary, and it's very hard to remember who is who. These issues plus the writing I mentioned earlier make it a bit of a tedious read, as there's no real flow or climax to the story.
But again, this is the nature of reading a diary that chronicles the mundane day-to-day life of anyone, really. As a historical document, it offers quite a lot more in my opinion. It was really interesting to read her impression of politics in Brazil and the way prices began to rise for her daily items. It was also a very sobering snapshot of how people in the favela lived.
As a fairly privileged white American, it's almost unthinkable that so many people lived and still live! I honestly think that the closest thing we ever learned about in school were Hoovervilles during the Great Depression, and probably the only reason we learned about them is because white Americans lived in them. Que foi escrito em Antes dele eu estava semi-cego pra vida na favela.
Eu recomendaria este livro ao Arnaldo Antunes, porque um poeta sacaria a beleza da linguagem de pronto. Simples e concreta. Mesmo que os "acostumem mal. Adhemar de Barros? Agora falar pra mim, que sou uma pobre lixeira. It is accounts like these that show how useful ordinary people's diaries are to history.
Reading Carolina de Jesus's diary, you can see exactly what it was like to live in the grim, apocalyptic world that was slums of Sao Paulo.
It was a place where women fought with their partners all the time and were often chased naked into the street, where people combed through the garbage for food that was not too rotten, where tiny babies died as a matter of course and older children scavenged for whateve It is accounts like these that show how useful ordinary people's diaries are to history. It was a place where women fought with their partners all the time and were often chased naked into the street, where people combed through the garbage for food that was not too rotten, where tiny babies died as a matter of course and older children scavenged for whatever they could sell and thus fill their stomachs for awhile.
There was plenty of food available, but not the money to download it, and shopkeepers' stock would go rotten and they would toss it into the favela for the poor to pick over. During the time she was writing this diary, Carolina was making a living selling scrap paper at a penny for four pounds. She would make about thirty cents on the good days. On the bad days such as whenever it rained and all the scrap paper got wet she made nothing.
A large part of the diary is preoccupied with her constant, Sisyphean struggle to provide for herself and her three young children.
But Carolina writes without self-pity and even with a kind of wry humor. Once, she likened the city of Sao Paulo to a house and said the presidential palace was the living room, the mayor's home was the dining room, the city was the garden and the favela was the backyard garbage heap. Her intelligence and wit are obvious in spite of her second-grade education, and I wonder just how far she could have gone if only she'd been born in different circumstances.
Favelas and their like still exist all over the world, and a significant proportion of the world's population still lives on less than two dollars a day. This diary is just as relevant today as it was fifty years ago when it was first written.
This was an honest, jarring, and compelling read overall. The unadulterated excerpts of Carolina - single mother, paper gatherer, impoverished Sao Paolo favelado - speaks authentically of desperationa and hope tightly bound in a life mired in a socioeconomic hell. There are some unfortunate aspects of this edition, though.
Clair's Translator's Note speaking of a woman nearly ridden out of slums on a rail when the book successfully comes out. However, photographs in the book show an orderly e This was an honest, jarring, and compelling read overall. However, photographs in the book show an orderly egree with nothing more threatening than standoffish spectators. The Note also says Carolina was pushing her novels and declairing here memoirs were a diary never meant for any eyes than her own.
However, the memoir's own content repeats her assertion that the work is contrived for publication in order to help facilitate some sharing of the truth. At least part of this may be due to the fact that the content of the book, covering the late '50s, post-dates the Brazilian newspaper excerpt and book arrival.
Part of this bookk actually records her book being published and the reaction to it.
Finally, a little more whitespace would have made reading easier. The short entries for a single day were typeset without even a line break between them, although they are such obvious chunks to present with some separation. Aug 04, Michele rated it liked it. For example, she complains about her neighbors who have succumbed to prostitution, but she has a gentleman or two that visit her for sex and bring money… so I am not sure how that differs? But I suppose we are all the heroes of our own diaries.
At times it was repetitive, monotonous, and difficult to read. She lived a sad life. People interested in non fiction poverty books, books about Brazil, or literature by women of African descent would enjoy this book. I have a hard time picturing other people really being enthused about it. For a full review visit http: I had to read this for a Latin American history class to get an understanding of life in a favela.
While de Jesus definitely showed how bad the conditions were and how favelados are basically a forgotten people, I didn't much care for Carolina's haughty, self-righteous tone.
One would think that living in a favela would be humbling! Not for Carolina. She denigrated the favelados, even when she at some points in the book understood that poverty and the conditions in which they lived caused them t I had to read this for a Latin American history class to get an understanding of life in a favela.
She denigrated the favelados, even when she at some points in the book understood that poverty and the conditions in which they lived caused them to act in an "uncivilized" manner, for lack of a better word. She has zero sympathy for them and yet asks us to have compassion for her. Portraying the favelados negatively -- or at least with not an ounce of pity -- does not help to encourage equality. This is something she clearly doesn't get.
My dress was billowing and had long pink sleeves. I went from earth to heaven. I put stars in my hands and played with them. I talked to the stars. They put on a show in my honor. They danced around me and made a luminous path. When I woke up I thought: I can't afford to go to a play so God sends me these dreams for my aching soul.
To the God who protects me, I send my thanks. She made her own house out of used plywood , cans, cardboard, and anything else she could find.
She would go out every night to collect paper in order to get money to support the family. She would sell what she had collected and then go to the store and download what little food that she could with the money. She would also find journals and old notebooks, in which she began to record her day-to-day activities and about her life in the favela. It angered her neighbors to see her always writing.
They themselves were not literate but they felt uncomfortable with the thought of her writing about them. Her neighbors were jealous of her and tended to treat Carolina and her children very poorly.
She was an attractive young woman and had many love affairs, although she refused to marry, having seen too much domestic violence in the slum, and preferring to remain independent. Unlike many black women in that time and place, Carolina celebrated her race; she thought her skin and hair were beautiful.
Her three children had different fathers, at least one of whom was a wealthy white man. In her diary, she details the daily life of the favelados , and bluntly describes the political and social facts which order their lives. She writes of how poverty and desperation can cause people of high moral character to compromise their principles and dishonor themselves simply to get food for themselves and their families.
There is no chance to save money, because any extra earnings must immediately go to pay off outstanding debt. Carolina Maria De Jesus' diary was published in August She was discovered by journalist Audalio Dantas in April He was covering the opening of a small municipal playground and immediately following the ceremonies, a street gang moved in and claimed the area, chasing the children away.
Dantas saw Carolina standing at the edge of the playground shouting, "Leave, or I'll put you in my book! Dantas asked what she meant about her book; she was shy at first, but took him to her shack and showed him everything. He asked for a small sample and subsequently ran it in the newspaper. Carolina's story "electrified the town," and in , Quarto de Despejo The Garbage Place , was published.
It became the most successful book in Brazilian publishing history. Although written in the simple, inelegant language of a favelada , her diary was translated into thirteen languages and became a bestseller in North America and Europe.
The Diary of Carolina Maria de Jesus , in The book was heavily edited by Dantas, and some critics suspected that the diary was a fraud; but the original manuscript was preserved and reprinted whole in , proving that not only did Carolina write it herself, but that she was a much livelier and more poetic writer than Dantas' edition seemed to present.
This came as a surprise to her town as well as the country. Many of Carolina's neighbors knew about her writings before the publication and would tease and ridicule her. People demanded the shipment of more copies all across Brazil. Along with the large amount of publicity and popularity that the diary created, Carolina became a social victim, especially in her local town. Carolina Maria De Jesus' diary detailed the grim reality of her life as well as that around her.
She judged her neighbors for their lifestyle, using their actual names and circumstances in the book. Many neighbors despised Carolina because she seemed to look down upon the town people's way of life.
One man "screamed at her that she was a 'black whore' who had become rich by writing about favelados but refused to share any of her money with them. People were also angry because she moved into a brick house in the suburbs with the first proceeds of her diary. The local neighbors despised her for what they saw as disparagement of their way of life, even though a major achievement of her diary was to increase the knowledge of these favelas around the world:.
When I die I don't want to be reborn It is horrible, to put up with humanity That has a noble appearance That covers up its terrible qualities I noted that humanity Is perverse , is tyrannical Self-seeking egoists Who handle things politely But all is hypocrisy They are uncultivated, and trickers. Carolina also raised awareness of the favelas' conditions.
Local politicians wanted to meet with Carolina and discuss some of her points. Most of these projects were dedicated to teach women how to sew, care properly of their children and teach good hygiene. This was a step in the right direction though these projects quickly faded. During the interview Vera clearly describes how her mother devoted herself entirely to her dream of becoming a writer, without the help of others.
Vera admired her mother's aspiration to create a better life not only for herself but for her children. Although Carolina was a difficult person to live with, Vera stated "There is no one in the world I admire more than her.
Carolina Maria de Jesus
Constantly praising her mother during the interview, Vera gives thanks to her life history completely to the work of her mother; she would have not been able attend school but for the success of her mother,. Vera constantly mentions the danger of living in the favela and although she and her siblings were born poor through their mother's suffering fought for a better life for her children.
Violence in the favela made it dangerous for Vera and her brothers to be on the streets with her mother, so most of their time was spent waiting and sometimes studying in their shack awaiting her return. Carolina rarely let her children leave their shack in fear of their safety.
Later, leaving her children became too dangerous. Vera professed: They only returned at night, to sleep. Movie tickets ended up costing much of our money for food, but she preferred it that way.
Socially, Vera made it clear that there was always a man in her mother's life. Carolina simply loved being infatuated with men and adored love making. She stressed how Carolina did not like the black men living in the favela and that they did not favor Carolina too much either. They were less in awe of her writing, and more intimidated by it: There were people who laughed.
The worst ones laughed at her piles of paper, but they stopped when they realized that it was neither a joke nor craziness" She threatened to write about people in her book if she got upset.Local politicians wanted to meet with Carolina and discuss some of her points.
Carolina's story "electrified the town," and in , Quarto de Despejo The Garbage Place , was published. However, the memoir's own content repeats her assertion that the work is contrived for publication in order to help facilitate some sharing of the truth.
Quotes from Child of the Dark. Her parents probably migrated from Desemboque to Sacramento as a result of changing the economics of gold mining to farming activities.
And this is why I appreciate Carolina Maria de Jesus' perspective. She is a HERO, a role model, the epitome of a beautiful soul, courageous, strong, a bright fire from a cold dark place that should live on forever by being shared, and remembered for her strength. Vera admired her mother's aspiration to create a better life not only for herself but for her children. It is a raw I know it is a classic, and I feel for her plight-but this was tough to get through.
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