Julia Alvarez's Before We Were Free

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The 2004 Pura Belpré Medal for Narrative was awarded to Julia Alvarez and her novel, Before we were Free. Set in the Dominican Republic, during the reign of dictator Rafael Trujillo, this books depicts the life of Anita Torres, whose family was turn a part as a result of Trujillo’s terrors. Through Anita’s perspective Julia Alvarez was able to discuss police brutality, murder, and government corruption in conjunction with topics such as menstruation and boyfriends. In Before we were Free, Julia Alvarez explains controversial and complex topics in ways that people of all ages can understand. By using Anita, who turns twelve during the course of the novel, Alvarez informs readers of the torture that Trujillo inflicted both physically and mentally

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