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Patricia

LAKE OSWEGO, OR, United States | Member Since 2012

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  • Into the Beautiful North: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Luis Alberto Urrea
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (84)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who left the family to work in the United States. 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 Magnificos"---to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over.

    Barbara says: "The other side of the story"
    "Terrible Writing, Made Worse by an Awful Reader..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Into the Beautiful North better?

    First off, the story is empty of any depth or interest, the dialogue sophomoric, and the writing is lifeless and downright boring. This book is lacking in any meaning, and when the theme finally gets revealed I felt embarrassed for the silly characters, and shocked that the author was putting them, and me, through such a trivial life. Granted, I was expecting the same quality of writing and imaginative story telling of Urrea's first book, Hummingbird's Daughter, and it had none of it's captivating complexity, lyrical cadence, original thinking, magical beauty, and rich descriptive writing. Beautiful North is more like a first draft of a first book, not a sequel to the great book, Hummingbird's Daughter. It is hard to believe that Beautiful North is even written by the same author.


    How could the performance have been better?

    It is bad enough that the writing and story had nothing to offer. Why would the author choose a reader that just makes this very bad book worse? The reader of Beautiful North manages to make the Spanish sound flat and tinny, and the way she over-annunciates each syllable, it is more like she is trying to teach English than read it. Probably, no reader could make this uninteresting book worth the time and money, but her choppy, dull style of reading exaggerates the poor writing.


    What character would you cut from Into the Beautiful North?

    Consistent with the meaningless theme and lifeless writing in this book, the characters lack any depth and range. Once again, comparing to Hummingbird's Daughter, the sorry lack of development of character, puzzles me because in his first book, the author did an exceptional job at creating lovable characters with believable, interesting flaws. No one in Hummingbird's Daughter was simple, they had the full range of human emotion, with quirky and unique fullness.

    What was Urrea doing when he wrote Beautiful North? What was he thinking? It is a mystery to me how he could have published such a bad book.


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