It’s my turn on the BlogTour My Sorrow. Mi Libertad by Robin Harwick.
About the Author
Robin Harwick, Ph.D., is a writer, educator, research scientist, and performer. After years spent coaching youth on how to achieve their dreams – she decided it was time to “walk her talk” and spent a few years traveling with her teen son and two dogs before deciding to make Mexico home! Robin is also the founder and director of The Pearl Remote Democratic High School, a radical school that provides space for youth to take control of their education. She is published in peer-reviewed journals, blogs, zines, and anthologies. Her first novel, My Sorrow. Mi Libertad was published in June 2021.
Robin Harwick, Ph.D. – Author, Educator, Researcher, Survivor, and Youth & Family Advocate. Follow @RobinHarwickPhD on Twitter, on Instagram, Visit robinharwick.com
“The days went by sluggishly when I lived on the streets. The sun didn’t come up until almost eight and went down by a little after four. That gave me an excuse to tuck myself into a sleeping bag for many hours of the day. We also spent several hours a day begging for money on the Ave. Between all of us, we managed to get enough money for one pay as you go cell phone. We took turns checking our messages on that phone – trying to stay connected to anyone we could think of. It felt like if I didn’t have a phone, I’d be forgotten.”
My Sorrow. Mi Libertad. shares the story of fifteen-year-old Didi, whose world is turned upside down when she is placed in foster care while her mother battles heroin addiction and after her father is deported. The story is set in the United States amidst the opioid epidemic and at a time when many families are being separated due to US immigration policies. My Sorrow. Mi Libertad exposes the suffering Didi and other youths in care experience, but more importantly, it reveals their resilience. It is a story of strength, determination, and hope as the young characters learn to take control of their destinies.
‘For the first time in as long as I could remember, my life became kind of boring and uneventful.’ – For me this sentence encapsulates the experience of being a child or young person in the system. You have a constant barrage of trauma, which has led to being in the system, then to top it off there is no consistency in your life.
Being moved from home, to facility, to yet another house and not being able to maintain regular education or relationships, due to moving all the time. In each new place there is a worry of new dangers, of being thrown away again – there is no optimal situation where trust can grow and safety can be felt. Let’s be clear, although the system is hopefully addressing the immediate dangers, neglect and safety issues, they certainly aren’t looking at how tumultuous a life in the system is. The system is inadequate at best, it’s failing children, and unfortunately it is also often producing the adult who repeats the cycles they were exposed to in the first place.
Being able to feel safe enough to be breathe and be bored is a huge moment – just saying. It is a step towards a future Didi is finally allowed to direct herself. It also means having to be honest about her loved ones and their lack of accountability.
Harwick intentionally leaves the politics of the situation aside and focuses on Didi and her experiences – it’s a personal story, as opposed to a universal one, and yet it is and always will be both.
Buy My Sorrow. Mi Libertad at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Qvixote Press pub date 24 Jun. 2021. Young adult novella – £7.28 (UK). Buy at Amazon com.