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Understanding the Alacran

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  15 reviews
-Silver Medal Winner of the 2017 FAPA President's Awards (Contemporary/Literary category)

Trying to escape the oppression leading him to drinking, drugs, and despair, 22-year-old William James rejects a teaching position offer at a prestigious Buffalo high school and moves to Mexico to find freedom in its beaches, mountains, and culture.

But soon, this freedom becomes oppres
Paperback, 422 pages
Published August 23rd 2017 by Almendro Arts
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Archit Ojha
A Striking prose!

The scorpion is unusual and not your typical aggressor. The sting comes from the back and how.

This coming of age of our male lead opens up with the fancy words of liberation and self reliance shining in his head. But as all hormones, the adrenaline sweeps away and begins the downward abysmal phase.

The characters are immaculately hilarious to say the least. The male lead is accompanied by folks with names that crack you up in timely intervals.

One thing is that moves a bit slowly
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved how each of these books are dealing with education system and exploring the alternatives.

This book was an explosion, full of culture, nature and scenic beauty in imagination. There is a lot to learn from this book such as value of friendship, love, adventure and hanging to your morals. I got to experience a culture and language miles away from me. As it happens in the author's work, the writing is exceptionally lyrical, making the words flow calmly and pages turning themselves. Wonderfu
Eslem Behouri Kehila
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have
I am glad that i took my time with such vivid story. From the moment i entered that bus station for a journey in Will's memory until i found myself back in it for the big revelation,the sound structure of the characters and the colorful scenes beautifully described by the author me. This book reveals LaPoma's profound knowledge when comes to Mexico's culture, people, and cities. this story come in a time where the gaps are as wide, and the walls are as high as they can ever be. But with his soci ...more
Adam Ross
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another terrific tale about finding one's way in life from Jonathan Lapoma. His writing draws you in with a delightful touch of humor. Some great characters and remarkable adventures. A must-read.
Maddie (HedgehogBookReviews)
You can also find this book on Hedgehog Book Reviews!!

“I think that, maybe, you get too close to things that are ugly because you want to make them beautiful. I see that you are suffering. But you have a gift. I don’t think you realize how special you are.”

After seeing the darker side of teaching in the US, Will moves to Mexico to escape what could turn into a drug problem. Though he has a limited amount of savings that quickly dwindles, he manages to have some good times there. Most of Will’s d
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Disclaimers: The synopsis section is ©Goodreads but the rest of the reviews are completely my words and of course the quote section is obviously from the book reviewed.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in return of an honest review.
Also on my blog

4.5/5 ⭐

I've expanded my vocabulary in such little page time. (Alacran, Trivial, Reefer, Reticent, ect.)

It has been quite humorous and relatable. The description is bulletproof and incredible. "I watched him cook up, pierce his ski
Lisa M
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Jonathan for sharing a truley interesting adventure! I could feel a connection with the characters. It had the right amount of humor, love and friendships to keep me interested. As an added bonus I’ve learned the Spanish word for Scorpion!
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
‘Banda was basically a Latino version of polka and, along with mariachi, was teeming with cultural significance for the Mexican people.’

California author Jonathan LaPoma not only writes novels (three to date) but also screenplays, poetry and songs! He earned his BA in history and a secondary education credential from the State University of New York at Geneseo, gathered ideas or seeds for future novels from his travels both the US and Mexico, began writing and winning awards for his works, and n
Bárbara Kathyn
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book is wonderful. The author is incredible. I recommend reading all books by this author. reading this book is wonderful from start to finish
C.A. Lear
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I decided to read UNDERSTANDING THE ALACRAN, I wanted to be engaged and intrigued by a fresh story, an original voice, and an interesting perspective. Well, I got all that and loved it!

Mr. LaPoma’s wonderfully descriptive, gritty, and often amusing prose transported me to Lila, Mexico, where he portrays the wilder and often uglier side of young men from the perspective of William/Will—letting loose to party and rage and act badly among back-alley locals in a foreign land. The research of M
Karla Kbooklover

Will moves from Buffalo to Mexico to try to find some freedom while living with his friend Sal in a place called Lila. In Lila, besides the locals, he meets some people that like him are just looking for an escape and to explore Mexico.

Things are not easy for Will, yes there’s a lot of partying, drinking and meeting women but the cultural differences and the language barrier proves to be a struggle, especially at the beginning.

This book and Will’s experience while in Mexico shows how living on a
Don't pay for this book!

I got this book on offer, fortunately. The early promise of insights into Mexican psyche and the author's personal development kept me going, but we got very very little of either. Mexico remains an alluring mystery, but I won't miss the 'hero'. A sort of cliffhanger emerged, we're waiting for a eureka moment, or even a slow evolution, but we're no further forward. Will's charmlessness continues unabated, and you're left thinking this was a wasted opportunity - he could h
Kerry Pickens
I was excited about reading this book by a promising young author, primarily because I have lived in South Texas most of my life and appreciate any authors that writes about the residents that live below the Mason-Dixon line without treating them like congenital idiots. This book slowly lost my interest though as it is about a period where this young man from New York state goes on a drinking binge in Mexico which drags on and on. Partying in Mexico is not an anomaly for the residents of South T ...more
Joshua Grant
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Understanding the Alacran by Jonathan LaPoma explored a young man’s journey across Mexico. The travel aspect of the book was fun, and LaPoma does a great job of making you feel like you’re there, but it’s the emotional journey that’s most rewarding. It’s a little bit morose, but seeing how our main character changes over his travels is quite satisfying. This one’s good for anyone with the travel bug or wants to delve into some difficult emotions!
Jose Corona
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Sep 18, 2017 added it
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Will, the lead character, rejected a good job to escape from himself and the problems that surround him. He moves to Mexico, but at some point, he notes that nothing is changing. For me, this is the most important message from this book, he realizes the solution was not to run away from his problems because the problems go with you wherever you decide to go.

This history is pretty crazy with all the partying, but I liked Will and I understand t
Oliver Hinton
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Dec 29, 2017
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Jonathan LaPoma is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, songwriter, and poet from Buffalo, NY. In 2005, he received a BA in history and a secondary education credential from the State University of New York at Geneseo, and he traveled extensively throughout the United States and Mexico after graduating. These experiences have become the inspiration for much of his writing, which often explores ...more

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