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Go and Come Back
Joan Abelove
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Go and Come Back

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  337 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Alicia lives much as her Isabo ancestors have lived for centuries in the Amazon jungle of Peru. One summer "two old white ladies", actually anthropologists in their 20s, come to her village to study the tribe. The adventure Alicia and the women share that summer is vividly detailed in this unique story. 192 pp. Ages 11 and up. Pub: 4/98.
Library Binding, 176 pages
Published October 4th 2008 by Baker & Taylor, CATS (first published March 15th 1998)
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Jan 23, 2016 Jenna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I'm no expert on YA lit, and I read this ages ago. But what I seem to remember that this book achieved is a level of complexity in its characterization in that the two "old white lady" (in their 20s) anthropologists are not depicted as simply dumb, culturally insensitive, colonizing, and coercive Westerners. Rather, they were depicted as what we'd think of as would-be "good" anthropologists, well-intentioned and striving to be culturally competent and do accurate research and be helpful and unde ...more
Gail Levine
Sep 26, 2012 Gail Levine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish this book had been available when I was a teenager. I'm sure it would have changed my life, would have widened my perspective, made me better understand myself and my place in the world.
May 22, 2008 lucem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 5th-8th, high school too
Shelves: award
CIP: Alicia, a young tribeswoman living in a village in the Amazonian jungle of Peru, tells about the two American women anthropologists who arrive to study her people’s way of life.

This quick read chapter book would be great for anyone interested in traveling, studying abroad and learning about other cultures! Easy reading level and enjoyable storyline put it at a 5th-8th grade read, but I think up through high school would enjoy it. It won numerous awards including ALA's best read for the coll
Jun 11, 2014 PB rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, I was a little bemused about a cultural anthropologist writing satirically against her own profession - cultural anthropologists usually come out of the classroom with many pre-conceived ideas and notions about the people they are "studying". Not only does it set up hierarchical ideas and notions about various communities, but cultural anthropologists DO often have heavy impacts on the communities they are writing about. Because of the racist foundations of anthropology itself, man ...more
Jamie Dacyczyn
I read this several times in high school, and recently found it again at Goodwill. It's a short, quick read. Told from the point of view of a girl from an Amazonian tribe that is being visited by two women anthropologists. The two women stay with the tribe for about a year (which apparently the author did herself), and basically baffle the tribe with their ignorance and strange ways.

Lightly amusing, touching, and just generally engaging.
May 18, 2014 Elysha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After living two years in a Peruvian village "with people much like those portrayed in this book," with another anthropologist, Margarita, Joan Abelove wrote this book from the perspective of an adolescent village girl, Alicia. There is a compelling immediacy inherent in this way of presenting of an anthropological project. The knowledge that the narrator takes for granted is the culture of the village, and it is the anthropologists' culture that is portrayed as often incomprehensible. Although ...more
Told from the perspective of a young indigenous woman observing the American anthropologists who come to study her village, this book does a nice job of revealing cultural difference without judgement. The story is compelling, too!

Lexile: 620
Lee Bullitt
I didn't really learn anything, except that apparently white me Americans are stingy, and as long as they aren't stingy, they can hang out in a Peruvian jungle with an unknown tribe and cry all the time without being made fun of.
Jan 02, 2014 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, historical
Interesting idea and decent execution. Too heavy handed at times. Not sure who I'd recommend it for, as the language is simple enough for middle grades, but there's pretty frank sex talk that might be inappropriate.
Apr 18, 2008 Mayra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This book is about a peruvian girl, who is indigenous.When to old ladies come to her village she is not surprised by them.She thinks they are to skinny and need to get fat.their customs are so different then ours.Being fat is good and shows health, being skinny is ugly because it shows how week you are. Being fat gives you a greater possibility to marry someone of status.Then the old ladies decide to stay and learn about their culture.Everything these women do is strange to her.They call work, s ...more
Jan 06, 2009 Eileen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Go and Come Back was a great read. Alicia’s perspective of our culture provided some very funny and true insights. I thought it was hysterical when Joanna pulls out floss to clean her teeth. Alicia notes “I couldn’t believe they were using such good, strong string to pull old pieces of food from their mouths.” Alicia and Marco realize this string could be put to much better use, such as fishing line or making bracelets. The villagers are also puzzled by the anthropologists’ definition of work. A ...more
Feb 28, 2015 Squeaky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure why I grabbed this one off the shelf, I had never noticed it before. No one has ever checked it out, so I did. It took me a while to get into it, but about half-way through I started to enjoy it. I had to look up the song lyrics as I was not familiar with them, also some other terms. I think the books is a bit more high school than middle school, though.
Jul 26, 2009 Audra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Borrowed this from Emily, with Carie's inscription in the front that reads: "This was the book Gail Carson Levine recommended. You can read it first. Love, Carie" (sorry, Carie, I think I read it first... probably it goes back to emily now or soon will find its way back to you!)

What's neat about this is that Abelove has a doctorate in cultural anthropology, so it has this nice undercurrent that explores the ethical and cultural dilemmas of anthropology, as well as how differences are constructed
Jenny Brown
Aug 09, 2009 Jenny Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20xj-classics, teens
An Isabo teenaged girl named Alicia takes readers into a hidden world deep in the heart of the Amazonian jungle of Peru. There is no Isabo word for “goodbye.” Instead, when two people part, they say “catanhue,” which translates as go and come back—and which gives this novel its title. Alicia is not so sure about the “two old white ladies” from “the New York” who have come to study her tightly knit village. They come with so many possessions and ask for an empty house. “Whoever heard of a house n ...more
Jan 30, 2012 KelliK rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit
I felt a bit like I was reading a report on culture. If that's the purpose of the novel, it's okay. It just wasn't a very exciting story for me, and it took a little while to get into. It definitely makes me more curious about the native people in South America, but I'm not sure this novel was the way to portray that information.

Alicia's character was pretty well portrayed because she was the narrator. I enjoyed hearing about her mother, even to the point of wanting to meet her. I am very curiou
Dec 05, 2012 Mariah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit, multicultural
Go and Come Back, despite what it may seem on the surface, is ultimately the story of two American anthropologists and their experience with an indigenous tribe in Peru. Yes, the story is narrated by Alicia, a fourteen year-old native of the tribe. Yes, often the American perspective is presented as "wrong" or "backward". But the narrative only begins when the Americans enter the scene, and it ends when they leave. Aspects of native culture are explained and explored only in context with America ...more
One day two old white ladies from NY show up in Alicia's village in the Amazon jungle. They are there to study the villagers' way of life: their agriculture and babies. Alicia and the villagers think these ladies are selfish, stupid, rude and funny, but after Alicia saves and adopts a baby girl whose father doesn't want her and threatens to kill her, she begins to get to know the American ladies a bit better. This book illustrates the unconscious biases that enter into our judgements about other ...more
Tristan Agbuis
I thought this story was very interesting and creative. However it is not the most enjoyable book. In my opinion, it seemed to get a bit boring from time to time. I would recommend this book to someone maybe thinking about exploring another country.
Nov 06, 2009 Jon-michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
so i finished this book yesterday and I cried near the end of the book....It was sad how Cami died and it also got to me how hard she tried to keep Cami alive and all the fun times they went through.....but in all the cook was about a native girl from a village called Ibo....Their are two white old ladies, 'Johanna and Margarita', and they travel to their little native group. They end up learning alot form these people and lets just say that things didn't really go as planed when they first got ...more
Oct 31, 2010 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This book was written at one of the lowest reading levels acceptable for a young adult book. This made it a very quick read, but to me, the only worthwhile thing in this book was the view into the culture of the natives. I can't even decide if this was a good thing, since none of the characters were likable, and though I learned a lot about this village in South America, I did NOT understand it. There was little explanation of their motives, personal feelings, etc. Very on-the-surface in a weird ...more
Vera Chen
This is a very interesting book. It tells of a teenage girl who has already been married off but does not live with her husband. She meets 2 white women who have come to their village to learn their life and study it. As she teaches these women their way of life she also learns from them. I like how the author has shown the change and understanding that occurs in both peoples and they learn about the others culture.

Sex - mentioned throughout the whole book.
Alcohol - drinking is part of their li
Jan 22, 2008 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teenbooks
This was a fascinating young adult novel about another culture--the Peruvian Isabo tribe. It is narrated by a young teenage girl who is a member of the Isabo tribe. Her village is visited one day by two white women anthropologists who have come to study the culture of the Isabos. The book has wonderful stories about the collision between Isabo culture and Western culture. It is an eye-opener to realize how much our culture informs our worldview and how arrogant it is to assume that we (Westerner ...more
Sep 24, 2008 Marilee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a terrific cultural anthropology book for young readers, but once again I think my daughter's 4th grade teacher is a bit overambitious about her level of understanding. I believe this will be more appropriate for her in a couple of years. The biggest challenge for her would be trying to read the language of the Peruvian villagers. Trying to figure out the pronunciation while remaining engaged with the story and characters would be tough at her reading level. I'll definitely keep this one ...more
May 05, 2015 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel-culture
a very good book.
Chelsea (Cat Litterary)
Jul 19, 2016 Chelsea (Cat Litterary) rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ya, young adults, preteens
Shelves: a-z-2016
I’m not a fan of Abelove’s writing. If I were younger, I probably wouldn’t have noticed how short the sentences were, or how choppy it seemed in some places. I have seen some very well-written children/preteen books, and this was just not one of them. But Abelove does place emphasis on the fact that not every culture shares the same customs, which is an important concept that everyone needs to grasp in order to accept others fully.
Jun 14, 2009 Czar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Young Adult book I picked up at a thrift store for 20 cents, an easy and engaging read with a true-life plot of anthropologists staying in a Peruvian aboriginal village. Lots of fun and digestible in a couple hours. Well written and full of enthusiasm. Glad I copped this one and would recommend it to teenagers as well as adults interested in the subject matter, quite an enlightening read from an inside perspective.
Jun 09, 2009 LauraW rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I like this book for the way it explains a cultural moré that is different from the way of the observer, who is, if I remember correctly, a typical north American. The two cultures differ in their concepts of ownership, sharing, and looking toward the future. All this is a relatively accessible story.
Jan 06, 2011 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
Alicia, a young woman of the Isabo, a Peruvian tribe, describes the "two old white women" who visit her tribe. The women are American anthropologists who have come to the village to live for a year. Alicia befriends the women and helps them to understand the Isabo way of life.
Paula Soper
Feb 11, 2011 Paula Soper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
I love reading about Peru because I lived there. This book would be great for a social studies class or for a multi-cultural unit. Some people might have problems with the non-graphic talk about sex and extra-marital sex. Different cultures, different morals.
Jul 15, 2011 Sherry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book provides an interesting look into the lives of a people living in the Peruvian jungle. Because of the author’s openness about the sexual attitudes of the people and some beliefs about how babies are made would only suggest for older teens.
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Joan Abelove is an American writer of young adult novels. She attended Barnard College and has a Ph.D in cultural anthropology from the City University of New York. She spent two years in the jungles of Peru as part of her doctoral research and used the experience as background for her first novel, Go and Come Back (1998). Go and Come Back earned numerous awards and citations, including a "Best Bo ...more
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