Introduction & Overview of The Tree of Red Stars

Tessa Bridal
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The Tree of Red Stars Summary & Study Guide Description

The Tree of Red Stars Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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Tessa Bridal's The Tree of Red Stars takes place during a time of dire political upheaval in Uruguay. Most of the story centers on the activities that occurred during the 1960s and 1970s in Montevideo, Uruguay's capital. Although a fictionalized account, Bridal makes a statement in the front pages of her book that the story was inspired by real people and real events.

After leaving her country, Bridal was surprised to discover that, outside of Uruguay, no one knew what was really happening there. The stories that were being printed in the media of other countries did not correspond to her experiences and memories. She recounts that no one in Uruguay was left untouched by the violence that was occurring there, and her story is told as a way to make sure that the voices of Uruguayans will not be lost. Bridal "uses her book to present a harrowing account of that country's takeover by a military dictatorship, a regime that violently demolished one of Latin America's oldest democracies," wrote Paula Friedman for the New York Times.

It was during these troubled times in Uruguay that a citizen's group of urban guerillas, the Tupamaros, was formed to protest the dictatorship government that had set itself in power. The Tree of Red Stars tells the story of a young, outspoken girl, Magda, who comes of age in the midst of all this social, political, and economic chaos. Her older friends and some of their parents are secretly involved with the Tupamaros, and as the young girl matures into womanhood, she too takes up the fight against the corruption that has invaded her life and the lives of her family and friends.

The Tree of Red Stars is Bridal's first novel. It won the Milkweed Prize for fiction and first prize with the Friends of American Writers. It was selected by the New York Public Library for its 1998 Books for the Teenage list, was Booklist Editors' choice, and was chosen by Independent Reader as one of the five Most Recommended Books for 1997.

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This section contains 342 words
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