Child of the Dark: The Diary of Carolina Maria de Jesus

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New American Library, 1962 - Biography & Autobiography - 187 pages
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This dramatic true account of life in the streets of Sao Paulo, from 1955 to 1960, introduced the world to the plight of the poor as an artist, a writer and single mother of three children, while living in a hovel, supports her family by digging through the garbage for paper and scraps to sell. Reissue.

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Last semester, I took a class in Latin American history and we were assigned to read De Jesus's Child of the Dark. This was the most fascinating book I've read, in a long time. I'm not an avid reader but this is one book that I truly had the pleasure of reading. As I began reading it, I found myself unable to put the book down. I was more and more intrigued by her diary entries. through her writings, she showed so much strength as she endured life's hardships as a favelato. The things she went through in order to give her children the best she could.
Through her writings, she became the voice for so many Brazilians who lived just as she did; poor, stepped on and unforgotten.I was sadden to learn that she returned back to the life she was so desperately striving to get out of. Physically she may have been able to move on but mentally and emotionally, I think she was stuck in her life as a favelato because one thing's for certain, no matter what stage she was in her life, she always encountered ridicule and criticism from the rich and the poor, the blacks and the whites.
If anyone wants to complain about their lives, they should take a moment to read this book. I think that once they read it they may find that someone's life is always worse then their own.I know that future readers will find this book to be one of the most memorable books ever written.
 

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About the author (1962)

Carolina Maria de Jesus, a Brazilian woman with only two years of schooling, was the mother of three illegitimate children, each born of a different father. This story of her life in São Paulo stands as a vivid, incendiary social document. With stark simplicity, Carolina describes her squalid neighborhood, the favela, and tells how she lived hand to mouth. To keep herself and her children barely alive, to stave off their ever-present hunger, Carolina must scavenge for scraps of metal and paper in the gutter to sell. Her story is a witness to the vicious fights, the knifings, and the sordid sex of the favelados—prisoners of poverty, prey of the unscrupulous, and the breeders of revolution.
 
Robert M. Levine devoted his career to Brazilian social history. He chaired the National Committee on Brazilian Studies and the Columbia University Seminar on Brazil and was director of the Center for Latin American Studies, University of Miami. His major books include Vale of Tears and Father of the Poor? Vargas and His Era.

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