Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Into The Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea... A Review & Giveaway!
Giveaway Has Ended!
Congrats to Cindy, Dawn and Krystal!
It's a story of a small dusty Mexican town where electricity was too modernizing for some of the residents of Tres Camarones, the peso was almost worthless, and there was no work. The town seemed to be slowly disintegrating... and then the men left to go north... to find work... making Tres Camorones easy prey for the banditos, the drug dealers, to settle in and take over the town... But our 19 year old heroine Nayeli has other ideas...
From the Publisher...Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the US when she was young. Recently, it has dawned on her that he isn't the only man who has left town. In fact, there are almost no men in the village--they've all gone north. While watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli decides to go north herself and recruit seven men--her own "Siete Magníficos"--to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over.
Into The Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea is wonderful. The prose flows easily and paints a vivid portrait of hot dusty roads and the people who live near them. The sprinkling of Spanish among the narrative also gives the landscape authenticity. Tres Camarones, where the story begins, is where we meet our heroine Nayeli, who works in the little restaurant The Fallen Hand Taco Shop, her best friends Yolo, who works as a pin tender at a 3 lane bowling alley, and Vampi, who works as a shrimp peeler and is the only "goth" girl in the little Mexican town. We are immediately caught up in their friendship and their simple pleaures of life. On first thought, the town seems like a deadend, hopeless. But the girls and the other women surrounding them breathe life in this town and into the story. We meet Tia Irma, a feisty woman who was running to replace the Municipal President (she had after all leadership experience as the Sinoloa's retired Lady Bowling Champion), Nayeli's hypochondriac mother Maria, and of course Tacho, the owner of The Fallen Hand who was gay.
When banditos threaten to take over the little town, 19 year-old Nayeli along with Yolo, Vampi and Tacho, with the idea of The Magnificent Seven fresh in Nayeli's head, go in search of help. It is that journey, which is truly more of a journey of self discovery than just over the boarder that makes this book special.
The narrative is what moves the story along, and it is honest, fresh and enjoyable. There were many issues that came to mind as I read Into The Beautiful North such as immigration, small town life, and deciding to pursue ones dreams no matter what. A perfect pick for a reading group because of the questions this book stirs. Luis Alberto Urrea suggests topics for a book club to discuss on his website:
*Choices faced by young people in Mexico
*Life-changing road trips
*Friendships between young women
*How movies inspire our actions
*The power of a postcard
*Small town Mexico as mirrored in small town America
*Does midwestern America seem "magic realist" to small town Mexico?
*The growing power of women in Mexico
*The Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven
If you enjoy friendships, small towns and great narrative, wrap yourself in Into The Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea. It's one of my favorite reads this year!
Courtesy of Valerie of Hachette Book Group, I have 3 copies of Into The Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea to GIVE AWAY! Here's how to Enter...
To Enter this giveaway...
*For one entry leave me a comment with your email address!
*Get an extra entry for following my blog! Just leave a comment letting me know you're a follower! ( Not a follower yet? No problem, sign up by clicking on the 'followers" button on the sidebar to the left! Just let me know you became a new follower!)
*Blog or tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link.
This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (No PO boxes). The books will be shipped to the winners directly from the publisher. Contest ends 11:59pm EST on July 17th. I will randomly pick the winners the next day and email them! (please check your email.. winner must reply to me within 3 days! Thanks!) Good Luck!