Leah's Reviews > The Hummingbird's Daughter

The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea
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Jul 05, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: book-discussion, cultural-commentary, novels
Read from June 25 to July 05, 2010

It was difficult for me to get into this book for awhile... at least a hundred pages. It was challenging for me because I struggle with books where generations are involved. Also, reading phrases in a language I don't speak made me feel like I was missing important details. I can appreciate the practice of doing so, but I was out of it for awhile.

That aside, this book was beautiful. Recently I've been reading plot-driven (as opposed to story-driven) novels, the former of which prides itself on concision. Details are used only for the purpose of pushing the plot toward a certain end. Sometimes it seems like the sheer volume of details in a story-driven novel (like this one) feels like a pillow over the face. But this work was precise -- even with 500 pages-worth of details. I felt that every veering and particular was essential to understanding not only the "main" story (that of Teresita) but of the entire story (that of a Mexico that needs and wants to believe in reformation of all kinds).

I was often surprised by the accuracy and creativity of metaphors. And I loved that this work was very much a novel of all human senses.. every smell and taste and color and sound and texture and epiphany revealing.

Simply: great writing.

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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Pam (new)

Pam Leah I saw this book on a cart just yesterday and wondered how a Hummngbird had a daughter. Just a silly comment but odd that you are reading it. There is definetly soom odd karma in that library.


Leah Valid question. Stay tuned for what must be a stellar 500-page description of the family life of birds.


Kerry O Great review! I was pretty sure you were going to love it, too! Glad I asked CCPL to buy it for book discussions. I also loved his book "In to the Beautiful North." CCPL has it, too. Maybe you should consider a career as a book critic??


Leah Ha! That'll be the day. =P But thank you.

Actually, I noticed the other day that I have a pre-released copy of Into the Beautiful North which is great because it means that I can take my time with it. I wish I didn't start The Hummingbird's Daughter a week before the discussion. I always wait until the last moment. No surprise there.

Are you going to write a review of it for the website? You should.


Leah Don't be! I have 100% confidence in your rhetorical abilities. I'll supplement your review with a positive comment!


message 6: by Tim (new)

Tim A Wish I could be so technical. Plot or character driven?? I don't think I'm that smart. I know what I like and that's it. Great review though, I think I want to read it too.


message 7: by Carol (new)

Carol Davies Great review, Leah! You talked me into it!


message 8: by Lacey (new)

Lacey Leah- YOU should be writing novels with a review like this one. I have seen much less eloquent reviews in the The New York Times. Great job.


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