Filled with unforgettable characters and prose as radiant as the Sinaloan sun, Into the Beautiful North is the story of an irresistible young woman's quest to find herself on both sides of the fence.
©2009 Luis Alberto Urrea; (P)2009 Tantor
Not only does Urrea do an excellent job of writing from many women's points of view, he also gives what most non Mexicans would not consider: "The other side of the story".
Glimpses into points of view and realities that, if you don't live in Mexico, you might never imagine.
IMO, there is no way any book could out do "The Hummingbird's Daughter" (and hopeflly it's upcoming sequel of the rest of Saint Teresita's life in AZ.)
This is not an epic book. It is simply very, very good and eductional.
The story is very well-written and the performance was more than adequate.
It tells the story of the U.S./Mexico border with all its problems without demonizing those on either side.
Ms Ericksen did a very good job narrating the story. My only complaint is that she was clearly not a Spanish speaker. Though she did an adequate job with the Spanish in the story most of the time, she occasionally missed the stress completely. Though this seldom got in the way, a couple of times - such as confounding the words "esta" and "está" - made her difficult to understand.
Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.
This author is excellent and this story is excellent. I Highly recommend it. I loved his previous book, The Hummingbird's Daughter and I was very excited to hear this one. I was not disappointed. It gives a great look at live in Mexico.
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.
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.
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.
This was a contemporary and sensitive portrayal of the clash of Mexican, American and Mexican-American cultures. Mr. Urrea knows his subject well and tells his tale, cleverly educating his reader about the how Mexicans embrace American culture, but on their own terms.
The performer was a good fit for the mood and character, and characters, of the Story. Her spanish accent was natural and unaffected and added to my enjoyment. But, her mispronunciation of a handful of spanish words was painfully distracting to a bilingual listener.
I will be reading more of Luis Alberto Urrea's work. During the first third of "Into the Beautiful North" I thought it would become a Mexican version of Dominique LaPierre's "City of Joy", itself a moving and beautiful portrayal of life trumping misery. But Urrea's work was more than that. He managed to show both the wonder of things ordinary and extra-ordinary in los estados unidos and the power of dreams.
My monthly book club chose this book, I had no idea what to expect. Based on the title I assumed it was about Canada or Minnesota. I was pleasantly surprised that the book was about some Mexican teenagers on a mission to bring men back to their town. I enjoyed this book. It is fun and offers an interesting perspective. The characters were fun, young and energetic. The book touched on some of the everyday violence in parts of Mexico. The best part, in my opinion, were the border crossing sections; very interesting. However, the book's overall tone seems more geared towards adolescence readers. I would recommend the book to teen readers or adults looking for a fun read without "substance."
Say something about yourself!
What happens to a Mexican village when all of the men have moved to the United States to find work? In this case, drug lords have moved in. Influenced by watching the "Magnificent Seven" at the local cinema, young people from the village decide to go on a mission and bring seven young men back to their home country to rid the village of these bandits. Unfortunately, it is difficult to care about the one-dimensional stereotypical main characters. Although the concept was interesting, the lack of character development made this a disappointing read.
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