Dreamergirl's Reviews > I, Juan de Pareja

I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Treviño
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's review
Aug 19, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: biographies, historical-fiction, realistic-fiction, favorites

I have so many reasons why this book is one of my favorites but let's start from the beginning. First, I have always been fascinated by history and when I bought this book I knew I'd like it far before I even actually started reading it. Second, nobody tells historical nonfiction and puts it in a novel like Trevino, making it far much more interesting than any fictional novel ever did. Third, as I was reading this book I didn't know what to think about first- the unbelievably good description and writing, the astouning development of the protagonist and how much I was getting to know him or how much I wanted to research every, tiny detail about the 1600s and Juan De Pareja himself. If that isn't enough, no book, fictional or nonfictional ever made me feel so much sympathy for a character, I mean it when I say ever. And the time this book is set in, oh the time was captured so well when I stopped reading I would still be stuck back and while doing my daily chores almost all the time thinking about what would happen next and about the time period it's set in. Call me crazy, call me insane, call me obessesed but until you read this book please keep your mouth closed and throw away the key. Now to continue- here is a part from inside but it can't possibly show how it felt reading the whole book:

"Even with my heart broken at parting, at knowing that I would never see Miri again (for they left the court soon after, to make their way to Italy, Rubens and all his train), that other fear that she had taught me persisted. Any distant singing, or silvery twanging on a psalter, brought that desolate cry in my mind: "Mistress will tire of me...and sell me..." Children, they tell me, often wake up crying, for they have dreamed their mother or father are dead. Often I woke up weeping and terrified now... I have dreamed that I was sold" pg. 75

Come on, admit it, you were just getting lost in the passage and now I've pulled you back from the little world Elizabeth created into reality? Here are things people said about it:

"This brilliant novel captures and holds the attention from its rhythmic opening sentence- 'I, Juan de Pareja, was born into slavery'- all the way throught to the end." - The New York Times Book Review

"The author creates a fresh and different approach to biographical fiction. The novel is also an eloquent testimonial ot the bonds between races."- School Library Journal, Starred Review

"A splendid book vivid, unforgettable." - The New York Times Book Review

First time I can say- they have the right to say unforgettable- you will never forget the voice of Juan De Pareja, the slave who fought his way into art. I believe this novel will melt your heart.

I'd recommend.

Interest level: High
Reading level: Medium-hard
Links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDdyrB...

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Quotes Dreamergirl Liked

“Art should be truth; and truth, unadorned, unsentimentalized, is beauty.”
Elizabeth Borton de Treviño, I, Juan de Pareja

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