Eleven Days by Michael Crump
The novel Eleven Days by Michael Crump is about a sixteen year old girl named Itzy and the eleven days that changed her life forever. When Itzy’s great-aunt Dolores is killed in Guatemala where Itzy’s parents are from, the three of them end up going to Reu for the funeral. While in Guatemala with her parents, Itzy hears terrible stories of what it was like during the civil war there in the 90’s and even recently. One day, while going for her daily run, Itzy is attacked by members of the corrupt local law enforcement. She fights back and accidentally blinds one of them. The book tells of her narrowly avoiding going to prison but letting herself and many others down in the process. Eventually Itzy and her family return to the United States where they had been living and Itzy is able to begin to move on with her life.
This book is a wonderful coming of age story that tells of relationships in which a girl is finally respected as an adult, and delves into describing the violence of war and what life is like for the poverty-stricken and oppressed people of Guatemala. It deals with the struggle of self-preservation and protecting two friends at a potential detriment to many, and discusses the heroism of rebel fighters in a conflict that often seems hopeless. While describing a teenager’s life as a normal student and athlete, Eleven Days shows how in a very short period of time a person’s life can be thrown into danger and be completely turned upside down. It is an inspirational tale of an amazing young woman who is strong enough to overcome the violence and disappointment of a traumatic experience and continue on with what seems will be a very fulfilling future.