First read in first year of college 2002. Re-read the weekend before the bar exam 2010 reminded of this book by the premise of the Particular Sadness...moreFirst read in first year of college 2002. Re-read the weekend before the bar exam 2010 reminded of this book by the premise of the Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. I have to say I still loved this book but it was not as well-written and perfect as I remember it being the first time around. The first time I think it was the first true Latin American literature I had read, which probably made me like it even more. Still a really fun read.(less)
This was not the best week in my life to read this book, and I was not in the right frame of mind to really enjoy it. But I think it was great anyways...moreThis was not the best week in my life to read this book, and I was not in the right frame of mind to really enjoy it. But I think it was great anyways. I think the multi-generational Latin American family/country story has been done one too many times, but fortunately Diaz mixed it up with the modern day Oscar Wao story. I thought Oscar was a little unbelievable, I wanted to hit him over the head a few times and tell him to get a grip, but then I know people that resemble him, a little. The narrator and the majority culture's treatment of women frustrated the heck out of me, but fortunately the women Diaz wrote were smart and strong to make up for it.
I would not recommend this book to anyone who did not speak Spanish and/or had not studied U.S. intervention in the Caribbean. Had I known how many Trujillo atrocities would be discussed in the book I might have passed it up-- The Feast of the Goat gave me more than enough Trujillato torture for the rest of my life.(less)
The best book I have read this year (so far). This book was perfect. Gioconda Belli wove together so many themes into this book flawlessly.
When I tol...moreThe best book I have read this year (so far). This book was perfect. Gioconda Belli wove together so many themes into this book flawlessly.
When I told people I was reading a book about a dead indigenous (Nahuatl?) woman who possesses an orange tree when its roots penetrated her dead body and then sort of inhabits a woman's body when she drinks her orange juice they think its weird. But the first paragraphs describing the possession of the orange tree by the deceased Itza are some of the most beautiful opening paragraphs I have ever read. I was hooked.
I loved the parallels between a woman's role in 1500 Spanish-invaded Central America and a woman's role in guerrilla-warfare Central America. And the futility of the struggle in 1500 and 1970s-- the whole idea of an idealistic crusade. And the way Itza inhabits Lavinia's blood to give her strength and courage.
I felt like Gioconda Belli really, truly understands how women are undervalued in society and she puts it into words through the thoughts and actions of her characters so well. I felt like I needed to take notes while reading this book because she expressed ideas so well.
I was not so crazy about Felipe and felt that Lavina and Felipe's relationship was not convincing enough, but hey their whole struggle with machismo is just part of the story.(less)