Ricardo Jose Gonzalez-Rothi, USA

Interviewed by Don McCauley
Publisher: Running Wild Press

The Mango Chronicle

  • Biography / Memoir


"The Mango Chronicle"(Running Wild Press, out May 2024) ISBN: (pbk) 978-1-960018-19-9 Kirkus Review: "A captivating memoir and a startlingly edifying portrait of Cuba." Synopsis: A preadolescent boy is caught in Castro's Revolution and struggles with trading a Cuban Huck Finn childhood for the price of liberty after fleeing with his family to New Jersey via Mejico. The boy reminisces about his roots in the barrio. He chronicles spirited narratives that range from stealing a rowboat and being nearly capsized by a Russian tanker, to befriending an old fisherman who tells him a haunting tale, to being bullied by a neighborhood thug, to cockfights gone bad, and to being nearly mauled by a wild boar. He witnesses the plight of captives taken near his home during the Bay of Pigs invasion, and tries to navigate the complexities of growing up in a machismo, homophobic culture. The U.S. Blockade of Cuba during the Missile Crisis unexpectedly disrupts the family's egress. They endure the next several months in isolation. As a new expatriate, the boy lands in Mejico. He eventually arrives at freedom in blue-collar, New Jersey neighborhood. He endures the many ordeals of being an immigrant in an at-times intolerant culture and struggles to adjust to American life. But he perseveres. He scratches his way from a Green Card to American citizen, then to becoming a highly respected professor of medicine at two major medical schools in the United States. He eventually returns to the island in search of his roots, of the mango tree and of the boyhood for which he so dearly longed. He doesn't succeed altogether. But he doesn't lose hope.