Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I'm a little behind on a couple blogs Iv been wanting to post due to the birthday party and Easter. Both of which I will post about and put pictures but first this one. This is a book review of sorts. Thanks to Alice who writes the blog http://wagamamawonderings.blogspot.com/, I have some new books to read. I enjoy being sent books from people that I don't pick out because I often get ones that I would never choose but then I love them. One of the books she sent is titled Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros and is a National bestseller. This book is about a young Mexican girl who is raised in the US and visits Mexico city to see her grandmother every year. Mainly I just want to say it was nice to see in writing the differences yet similarities in the countries. Also it helped me to better understand my husbands side of the family. Mind you in this book her grandmother is a hateful old lady and non of my family here is quite so hateful. But I did get to see inside some of their prejudice against Americans and their love for their own people. Also she sometimes puts her words in Spanish when there is just not an English word to describe what she wants to say. I feel I broadened my vocabulary by reading this book. She so well explains herself in both languages and it is at times poetic. She refers to historic events be it war or popular issues helping me to get to know the country I live in. When the only Mexican history you know is the Alamo it can dampen you in certain conversations. I feel that now I can join in on some of those issues. Because of this particular issue and the widening of my Spanish vocabulary I actually plan to almost study this book. For me to learn I need things put in an every day sense and this book does so very well. I suggest it to my blog readers even if you don't live here, this may help you get a look inside some of the issues of being from both countries.
I just want to put a small portion of one of my favorite example where her writing can become so poetic yet so real.
"As soon as we cross the bridge (into Mexico) everything switches to another language. Toc says the light switch in this country, at home it says click. Honk, says the cars at home, here they say tán-tán-ta´n. The scrip-scrape-scrip of high heels across saltillo floor tiles. The angry lion growl of the corrugated curtains when the shopkeepers roll them open each morning and the lazy lion roar at night when they pull them shut. The pic, pic, pic of sombody's faraway hammer. Church bells over and over all day even when its not o'clock. Roosters. The hollow echo of a dog barking. Bells from skinny horses pulling tourists in a carriage, clip-clop on cobblestones and big chuncks of horse caquita tumbling out of them like shredded wheat.
Sweets sweeter, colors brighter, the bitter more bitter,. A cage of parrots all the rainbow colors of Lul'u sodas. Pushing a window out to open it instead of pulling it up. A cold slash of door latch in your hand instead of the dull round doorknob. Tin sugar spoon and how surprised the hand feels because its so light. Children walking to school in the morning with their hair still wet from the morning bath. "

She goes on like this for two pages and I hope you get the book and read more. I also think the above paragraph helps to describe some of the things I don't want to loose. For example here chicks say pia pia instead of chirp chirp and the other day I couldn't remember the chirp chirp part. May sound silly but this was a big deal to me.


  1. Amanda,
    On account of this book I will probably never eat shredded wheat again :)

  2. I started reading Caramelo 2 years ago. I got bogged down in it, and only got about 75% through it. It's been so long since I read it that I'll be lost when I try to pick it up and finish it! I did enjoy the wealth of information about the pop-culture from back in the day, like the movie stars, the celebrity figures, the singers, the songs, etc. Eventually the book ended up like homework for me though, and now whenever I see the cover of it, I want to run in the opposite direction. It turned into a sort of book assignment that I refuse to complete. I'm not sure why. I do plan to finish it one day.

    It's actually a great book and a great introduction to the real history and popular culture of Mexico. In fact, I would recommend it over any history book of Mexico anyday. The formal history of Mexico sucks in my opinion. I mean, presidencies and/or dictatorships that last like 5 days and then the next one lasts maybe 2 weeks and the next one a half year---whatever! Who can remember all those names and dates? Impossible! My husband hated having to study Mexican history.

  3. So glad you liked this book. I read it back in '05 but felt I needed to read it again since moving to Mexico City. I really liked the book the first time, but it was much better the second time, now having more context.

    Another book of hers that I recommend -- an easy read -- "House on Mango Street".

  4. Bob I laughed so hard at your comment. But seriously she brings the image right to your head, right?
    Gail I have to admit that towards the end maybe the last chapter or two I was having to hang on but the rest of it I loved.
    Alice thanks again and like I said its one I would have never picked out myself but I loved it.