Hi friends… I started this book because of the Read Around the World Challenge hosted by BoocShare, but I started the challenge because I wanted to widen my view of the world. Some people travel on planes; I travel through books. In this instance, I traveled to Mexico where Laura Esquivel is from and currently lives.
Lupita has lived a hard life full of tragedy: abuse, rape, the death of a child. And she deals with it while trying her best to be a functioning alcoholic and (not so) occasional drug user. Her coping has been working on and off for her until a politician she’s charged with protecting as a policewoman is murdered in front of a group of people with no real leads as to the murderer.
Typically here is where I would outline a few things I didn’t love and a few I did… I’ll start there, but much more briefly, because this has me thinking about larger questions.
- The book doesn’t have a defined plot. It reads much more like watching someone’s life unfold in small clips. Yes, she hopes to help find the murderer, but that’s not a huge focus (at least I didn’t feel like) to the story. I wish there had been a little more plot to tie the book’s themes together.
- The bigger ideas that I think this book leads to is what I enjoyed about it. It’s about loss and abuse and handling these things and how handling these things impacts the rest of your life and the lives of others. On an even larger scale, Lupita thinks through how her government has impacted the citizens and the lives they lead. I get stuck in my own head a lot, so I really appreciated Lupita’s never ending thoughts and opinions.
So, because the book got me thinking, I guess you’re just stuck along for the ride.
(Technically, you can stop reading at any moment, but please stick around: I like you.)
Ok, Michelle, get on with it – what were you thinking about?
Honestly, so much. I think the biggest question is about the writing style/topics. Laura Esquivel deals with heavy stuff, but the book doesn’t necessarily treat them like heavy topics. The book treats these loads of tragic events like the norm. Is this the norm for those in other countries? Does a government have the power to cause this much pain an one individual’s life through how they govern? Am I so sheltered that I had no idea that abuse or rape could be normalized into someone else’s life because it’s a common occurrence where they live? Are mental health and positive coping mechanisms as downplayed in other parts of the world as they are here in the US? Have I made decisions like Lupita that have negatively impacted those around me without even noticing because I’m so lost in my own life? Would traveling somewhere physically have impacted me this much to think through these ideas? After a lot of thinking, I have maybe some of the answers to these questions. At least for myself, for right now.
To be honest, I didn’t love the book. It felt a little slow. But it still left an impact. One that I think will grow as I continue to read books authored by those from different countries in North America. I can only hope I widen my awareness so that these stories make me a better human to those with whom I interact.
Have you read a book that really left a mark? Or traveled somewhere that still stays with you? Am I slowly going off the deep end? I’d love to hear what you think.