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Rain of Gold

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  6,854 ratings  ·  721 reviews
In Rain of Gold, Victor Villasenor weaves the parallel stories of two families and two countries…bringing us the timeless romance between the volatile bootlegger who would become his father and the beautiful Lupe, his mother–men and women in whose lives the real and the fantastical exist side by side…and in whose hearts the spirit to survive is fueled by a family’s uncondi ...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published September 1st 1992 by Delta (first published 1991)
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Andrea Rodriguez Yes, I think it would be a good book for book club although I have not used it in a book club yet.
Andrea Rodriguez It takes places in multiple places. It traces the roots of three generations from Mexico to California.

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Average rating 4.49  · 
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 ·  6,854 ratings  ·  721 reviews

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Oct 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Catharine by: Stephanie Stocking
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a non-fiction book of many layers. It's about greed, prejudice, hate and anger, poverty and death. It's also about family, love, relationships, and dreams. Parallel stories are told of two children, both babies of their families, who grow up during the Mexican revolution. Children of war who are driven from their homes in Mexico, hoping for a better life in America. In America, however, they find that the Mexicans are treated no better than dogs. It was interesting to read about prejudic ...more
May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Christen by: Anna
This book was exceptional. The family research the author conducted to put this family story together is amazing. Reading this book gave me a whole new outlook into immigration and Mexican history. The war and revolution that occured in Mexico was so bad that families had to flee in order to save their lives. They didn't want to leave their homes where they had lived, farmed, ranched, etc for generations anymore than we wanted them to come to the U.S. And then they get here and "rent" tents and ...more
May 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a wonderful story, made that much more impressive simply by the fact that it is the true story of the author's family. It is impossible to not feel what the characters are feeling and, as a reader, you become emotionally invested in the story very quickly. I found myself crying when the characters cried, feeling scared when they felt scared, and basically emulating all emotions reflected in the book. It's a bit long and looks like a text book at first glance (with black and white photos ...more
Book Concierge
5***** and a ❤

I read this on a friend's recommendation and was immediately caught up in the story of Villasenor's parents and grandparents. It's nonfiction, but full of old Mexican allegorical stories. There were times when, as I read, I would think "He's telling MY family's story!" After I read it (in English), I bought it for my mother (in Spanish).

UPDATE March 2008
My Hispanic book club chose this book for discussion, and I skimmed through it to refresh my memory
Apr 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This is family history of the most immediate kind, redeemed from its excess of filial piety and lack of craft by a passion and sense of drama that usually but not always stops just short or melodrama. It helps that the author's family lived in times that were entirely too interesting. One side came from a remote mining village terrorized by the kind of bands of thugs left over when Villa's army disintegrated. The other undertook a harrowing trek across the mountains and deserts. The early part-- ...more
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Rain of Gold by Victor Villasenor turned out to be great book, and is by far on my top five! The book is about mainly two characters: Lupe and Juan (Salvador). It tells the story of both families in different places in Mexico in the time during the Mexican Revolution. Both families find it hard to adjust in the life that they are surrounded by with many deaths, and find themselves traveling north to America as a refugee. That's when the story of Juan and Lupe come together and take some twsit an ...more
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was simply a masterpiece plain and simple. Its actually a true story, many stories of the author's parents, but it reads like fiction. Its a winding tapestry that begins at a mining community in Mexico, named in Spanish (Rain of Gold). It weaves the story of families hoping for a better life for their children, dreaming of a rain of Gold, and struggling to be the best they can be in a world that impoverishes them, and keeps them at a disadvantage. But this is a book about spirit and dreamin ...more
Feb 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is quite wonderful. Although listed as a non-fiction book, it reads like a novel. It has feelings. The reader can not read it without becoming attached to the people and events of the story.
Victor Villasenor has traced three generations of his Latino family's history in this book and their migration from Mexico to the U.S. Through tragedies, losses, trials and successes it traces their ability to keep their faith, drive, love, and humor as a suture that binds the family. This book ma
Leinaala Ley
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Already being an "I love Mexico" buff this wasn't a hard book to get into but it was really one of the best historical novels I've ever read. It's autobiographical in the sense that it's the family history of the author as passed down through his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. but it really reads like a book of fiction because of the very mystical strain that runs through his family. Anyone Mexican whose interested in their indigenous roots should read this book. It starts near the b ...more
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
While reading a review of The Hummingbirds Daughter, a book on my want-to-read list, I was reminded of Rain of Gold which I read almost twenty years ago. The pleasure and grief and great interest I felt while reading it have stayed with me. It is a heartfelt family saga telling the stories of both sides of the family going back to the Spanish Conquistadors in Mexico and eventually ending up in California. It is filled with tragedy, hope, determination, sorrow and laughter. One of the reviewers o ...more
Mar 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book was entertaining, but the writing was poor. Specifically, the author used way too much foreshadowing. It was annoying. And the characters were pretty evil, especially the two Mexican mothers, who bugged me to no end.
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In the beginning of the book it starts of with Espirito a poor man that tries to sell sweet water to help his people with food and clothing.When he tries to trade in the water the man rejects his offer. Espirito not only did he have the water but golden rocks that the business man was very interested in receiving. Espirito let him know that they would be no digging undergrounds for these golden eggs.
Then this is where Lupe comes out a young six year old girl that lives in La Lluiva de Oro . La
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
A grand story, of epic proportions. What a roller coaster ride--a bit too detailed at times, but full of rich, powerful emotion.

Overall, I felt like I was on the journey with these two families every step of the way, and that I lived their entire lifetime with them. I was a bit disappointed that the author's generation was not covered in nearly as much detail, even though he would have had his own memories to draw from, instead of having to conduct interviews.

What happened to: Duel, Mark, the "T
Chantilly Patiño
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chicano-lit
This book was a little of what I expected and a lot of what I didn't. I'd heard that it was a great tale of Mexican history and traditions, and that it was hopeful and full of Chicana(o) pride. The book was all these things and so much more. Most of all though, it was filled with such truths that it's almost impossible for someone to be unable to connect with this book. Throughout the book, we learn of the horrors of war, the drama and dysfunction that meets many families along the way, and the ...more
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Oh, why did this have to end? I was completely lost (in a good way) in this story of the author's family. This book demonstrates the importance of family stories, family heritage, family legacy. We are a sum of all the things our families have gone through, all the struggles, all the happy times, all its accomplishments.

The love comes pouring out as the author tells the story of his mother and father. Two families that were uprooted from the homes they loved in Mexico during the Revolution in o
Yvette Primero
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book speaks to me. The culture, the choices, the reality of our life is all in there. There are very limited books that can bring this all together without seeming fake and everything in this book was so real I could feel it.
In a time when people tend to omit the "undesirable" parts of family history this story tells it all. I only wish there were more pictures (I am not even joking) I would have liked to see any pictures of his great grandma and more of his parents before they got married.
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, favorites
Rain of Gold is the quintessential Mexican-American novel. Villasenor weaves the lives of his father and mother into a compelling narrative that makes it a feat to stop reading.
Set during the Mexican revolution, RoG depicts the hardships Mexican went through due to the turmoil and bloodshed caused by the revolution. Many Mexicans (especially the poor) migrated to the U.S. as a refuge, but found how horribly they were treated there by Americanos. It's shameful how poorly Mexicans were treated, es
I read this ages ago, but was reminded of it again because with all the controversy over American Dirt, a lot of people have been talking about their favorite books by Mexican and Mexican-American authors. (I loved American Dirt, as you can see from my review, but have found all the reading recommendations a positive byproduct of the sometimes-toxic controversy!) On that note, I wanted to give Rain of Gold a shout-out because I remember it being one of my top favorite books of all time, and it p ...more
Feb 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: I wouldn't
Recommended to LisaRose by: It was a book club selection
Just not getting all the great reviews for this book.

I'm reading it for my book club and ugh! It's plod, plod, plod, trudge, trudge, voice for all the main characters, and a simplistic writing style. My fourth graders wrote this way. There's no depth to or challenge in the ideas. While I understand it's a family history/history of the Mexican Revolution & migration of Mexicans into the United States, I believe the writing could have been much more dynamic. Phrases such as "Lupe fou
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
full 5 stars and a full ❤
This book is amazing. It will take you through an emotional roller coaster. It will let you experience poverty and misery, hunger and hatred, prejudice and all things bad done in the name of survival. But it will also show you love and redemption, strong family ties and kindheartedness as well as all things good that make us humans. It will make you question most of what you thought was right and wrong as well as humanity itself.
It is non-fiction and based on real event
Mary Lins
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: complete
“Rain of Gold”, by Victor Villasenor, was given to me by a good friend who told me that it is his favorite book. I don’t normally read non-fiction, but I was hooked from the first page. It reads like a novel, something Villasenor understood before he undertook writing this family history: that some of what happened was so spectacular that it would seem unbelievable! But his research showed him otherwise.

“Rain of Gold” is VERY fast-paced. Something is always happening; it is action-packed! It’s
Jul 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: couldntputitdown
La lluvia de Oro...puede leer en espanol tambien.

I read this book back during the undergrad years, and absolutely fell in love with it. I hesitate to call it fiction, because it it based on the stories of the author's grandparents journey from Mexico to the U.S. I saw Victor Villasenor speak, and he said that as a child, he always assumed his grandparents were making the stories up, since they were so far-fetched, however after returning the Mexico and following their stories, he came to find ou
Elizabeth Aldape
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
*sigh* What a great book. Thanks to my sis-in-law Stacey's recommendation, I didn't get to live a life of having never read this book. I soaked in the beautiful descriptions of Mexico and the rich culture of Lupe and Juan's families, and I fell in love with their stories as each page to me closer to their wedding. When they said I do, I felt like I had suffered, rejoiced, and grown with them in their journeys. It was remarkable to look back to where the tale began and how far we all had grown an ...more
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Victor Villasenor is dyslexic and has written a great autobiography called Burro Genius that describes his miserable experience in school (and how many rejection letters he received before ever getting a book published). My midwife recommended Rain of Gold to pass the time while I was awaiting the birth of my baby. I loved this book. Villasenor traces the story of his family on both his mother's and his father's side, leading up to how they met and married. The beautiful storytelling completely ...more
Aaron Dennis
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cvhs-10, chicano-lit
I really enjoyed this book, in the way that I did when reading Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. I enjoyed the sweeping, multi-generational scope of this Mexican-American family’s story. I enjoyed the landscape imagery, both in Mexico and in California. Every page brought new twists and turns that sometimes are hard to believe they are nonfiction and not just invented plot twists in a work of fiction. Countless times I found myself shocked in disbelief, or laughing, or shaking my head at both the eve ...more
Christopher Alert
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Incredible story- even more so since it is based on the true life story of the author’s parents and their independent journeys from Mexico to the US.

The story has a range of drama, romance, idealistic characters and ruthless pragmatists. It captured the complex relationships immigrants - especially visible minority immigrants with a complicated relationship with their own compatriots - can have, and the psychological scars it can leave.

The length of the book gave it runway to deeply explain the
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a detailed history of Villaseñor's family, beginning in Mexico with the grandparents of each of his parents, following their stories as they left their homes there and traveled to the United States, and concluding with the marriage of Villaseñor's parents Lupe and Juan Salvador. It is a story filled with great tragedies and great joys. And in its telling, it shows us much about the mexicanos of the Northern Mexican hills and of Southern California, both their culture and the tribulations ...more
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
Men are concerned with three things in this life, love, money and alcohol. We are always striving for love, searching for money, and addicted to alcohol.
To be rich is another game altogether. You need business. Juan Salvador knew exactly where to employ his talents. He made the best whyskey in town. Though illegal, most of his customers loved it. They didn't care whther the authorities wanted it or not.
To find love you need a good wife from a good family. Most of us don't want to be religious.
Yvonne Mendez
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I remember listening to this audiobook many years ago and recently a friend of mine reminded me of the book, so I got it from the Library again. It is such a beautiful story that I just had to hear it again.

This is a journey through memory lane, looking into the author's family history. A story of two families ravaged by war who were forced again from their homes into a new country that needs them while at the same time doesn't want them.

Listening to the way life events are explained in the book
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-library
Rain of follows Juan Salvador and Lupe Gomez (the author's parents) and their families on very different journeys through the hard times of the Mexican Revolution and into the U.S. They meet new challenges and find each other as they adjust and learn to make a life in this new country.

Villasenor is an impressive writer who pulls a reader into the story immediately! The novel challenges the reader to experience the harsh realities of the characters' hardships and triumphs. Villasenor's adherence
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Victor Villaseñor is an acclaimed Mexican-American writer, best known for the New York Times bestseller novel Rain of Gold. Villaseñor's works are often taught in American schools. He went on to write Thirteen Senses: A Memoir (2001), a continuation of Rain of Gold. His book Burro Genius: A Memoir (2004) describes his life. The author has received awards and endorsements, including an appointment ...more

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“And in that moment of sun and joy, Lupe knew why she loved and also hated Salvador. He gave her wings. He didn't try to lock her in, as had Jaime and the other boys she'd known. No, she could dream her wildest dreams with him and so she loved him for this; but she also hated him because it made her fearful. No one in her family was like this. They were always very cautious.” 10 likes
“Mi hijito, I've told you a thousand times, if you speak badly of people, God will punish you and make you just like them.” 8 likes
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