Summary: With younger twin brothers, Victoria knows living with her aunt and her aunt’s abusive boyfriend after her parents are out of the picture is not ideal, but isn’t sure how support them on her own. When her aunt’s boyfriend makes a pass at her though, Victoria has to choose between taking a risk by leaving home or being raped. Life on the streets of Parana, Argentina isn’t easy, and Victoria encounters several seedy characters dealing with drugs. Still she manages to find a place to live, support, and love, but all is put in danger when those calling the shots and her friend have a disagreement about money.
Number of Pages: 134
Age Range: 13-15
Review: Faced with a dangerous situation at home, Victoria decides life on the street is preferable. If she can only find a job and a place to live, then perhaps she can rescue her little brothers as well and begin a new life together.
Except Victoria is just fourteen years old, and while her trust in others extends to people she meets while she is on the streets, Silvana Goldemberg could have easily written a much darker tale where that trust was more misused. Thankfully, most of the people she does encounter are willing to help and protect her. At first, she finds a place to live in exchange for work in a store, but as the novel continues Victoria is able to find a more permanent place to live and follow her dream of going back to school and being reunited with her brothers.
I like Victoria as a character because although her age makes her a bit naive, she has guts. Victoria is determined to make a better life for her family after the loss of her parents and shows bravery and courage in her pursuit of what she wants. She learns it’s okay to ask for help from others, but that others might not always be trustworthy. Entangled in rules and hierarchy of street life she doesn’t always understand, Victoria still manages to make her way and secure a better future for herself.
Reading about South America is something I rarely have a chance to do, and in that respect Goldemberg’s book is eye-opening. I especially enjoyed all of the quotes Goldemberg put in from Argentinian songs.
“For children who suffer from violence and poverty.
For the justice and dignity they deserve.
Any similarity between fiction and reality has more to do with coexistence than coincidence.” – Silvana Goldemberg’s Dedication from Victoria by Silvana Goldemberg
Victoria by Silvana Goldemburg, translated by Emilie Smith is published by Tradewind Books, (2000).