Autumn Blues Reviews's Reviews > Queen of America

Queen of America by Luis Alberto Urrea
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Jan 11, 12

bookshelves: reviewed
Read from January 08 to 09, 2012

Live, love and laugh along with the Queen of America and her menagerie of characters.

As a first time reader of this authors work, I was quite surprised by Urrea's writing style. His Queen of America is definitely not what I expected, in fact it was better than I expected. The main character of this book, Teresita, on who the story is based, actually existed, although most of the book is fiction. Urrea has a pre-sequel to this book, which I have not yet read, however this did not affect my reading of Queen of America, as it did not read like a sequel. I actually was completely surprised to learn Teresita was actually a real healer in her time back in the early 1900's instead of a fictitious character. This I did not note until after I read the notes and acknowledgement section at the end of the book.

Urrea's quirky style of writing and his list of characters remind me of a western-style movie with comedy scattered throughout. Teresita, her family, and friends are all characters one quickly feels comfortable with and the ongoing saga made it was difficult to put this book down. Being of Hispanic descent but not Mexican, I understood some of the Mexican words scattered throughout the book, while other times I had no idea what the word might mean. However, this did not in any way keep me from enjoying this book and I laughed out loud many times throughout this book. At other times it I was so caught up in the characters it was as if I was family. Teresita seems like the average poor Mexican, however, she also has a gift of what this generation may call healing of the hands. A term that back in the 1900's was considered by some to be witchcraft and at times she is ostracized for it. This book was an amazing adventure of love, laughter, pain and sorrow as Teresita lives her life, at times traveling across the continental United States. Urrea's words seem to carry you, when you feel the heat of the desolate desert or the scraping of the horse between your legs, while winding through the hills of Arizona. At other times you are riding on a windowless, dusty train through hills and valleys of the Old West with awe and wonder at the first glimpse of a creek bed or river, or maybe even the ocean. What may happen next? The wonders seem to never cease for what Teresita's next contingency may be. Yet in the end, Teresita finds exactly what she is longing for.
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Reading Progress

01/08/2012 page 352
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message 1: by Luis (new)

Luis Alberto Wow, thank you so much for reading and for posting this review. I really appreciate it!


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