"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Review: Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall won the 2012 Pura Belpre Award, given for an outstanding book by a Hispanic author. It also won a Morris Award Honor given to exceptional debut authors.  WOW.  Pretty impressive pedigree for a small book written in verse about a young Mexican-American girl, Lupita, whose mother is diagnosed with cancer.

Here are a few samples of the lovely, evocative poems:

When Lupita turns fifteen her mother tells her she is now a senorita:
"But for me, senorita means
melancolia: settling into sadness.
It is the end of wild laughter.
The end of chewing gum
and giggling over nothing with my friends at the movies, our feet up
on the backs of the theater seats."
Spanish words are splattered in to the poems are italicized:
En los Estados Unidos
I nibbled on school lunches
of fish sticks and macaroni
while my soul craved
the chocolaty gravy of mole
on a bed of Spanish rice.
The Mesquite tree comes to symbolize growth and a new direction:
...It isn't the beauty
that strikes me. I envy the mesquite
its undaunted spirit, its ability to turn
even a disabling pruning
into an unexpected opportunity
to veer in a different direction,
flourishing more profusely than before.
This gem of a book reads very fast.  It is a completely delightful book. I hope my "samples" tease you into reading this book.

 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, now I need to read this one, thank you for the encouragement

    ReplyDelete

It is your turn. Join in the conversation. Comments make my day!