MC's Reviews > The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
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This was a sweet story about a young girl and her “hippie” father trying to outrun the grief of losing a mother and two daughters in a car accident. This book is kinda like if you gave the movies Little Miss Sunshine and Captain Fantastic a G-rating and then stuck them in a blender. Our protagonist Coyote is funny, and shrewd but earnest, with a big heart for all the travelers that end up on their bus.

A few niggling details kept this from being a 4-star for me. For one, many of the side characters felt flat and somewhat inauthentic, written purely to demonstrate just how big our protagonists’ hearts are. They didn’t feel like real, multi-faceted people with complex emotions and concerns but instead, were written as poster-children for whatever issue they were written to represent. I was particularly annoyed with Salvador’s character (and by extension, his family) who, although he’s never actually given an ethnicity, is probably modeled after Mexican culture. Which isn’t inherently bad, but just demonstrates how white writers default to Mexican culture as the stand-in representation for all Hispanics and Latin Americans. As a Central Floridian (where Coyote ends up meeting Salvador), I would have liked to see something a little more realistic considering Cubans and Puerto Ricans account for a huge makeup of South and Central Florida demographics. I might be overly sensitive coming off of reading another book where a white author also has a Hispanic character in New York City who is (surprise!) Mexican.

Am I getting too nit-picky? What I’m trying to say is this: Dear White People, Latinos are (and I cannot stress this enough) not.all.the.same. And, another quick aside here: Salvador doesn't need some little white girl to help him accomplish his dream. I know it's a sweet, harmless moment and she's doing something nice which is a great lesson for a young reader. I hate to be that person but - can you just let him have some agency and not rely on a white character to come out of his shell?

OK so speaking of Florida…Florida is just not that big. At the beginning of the book, Coyote is in Naples (Side note: Floridian here, again. Hi. Why Naples?!) when she gets news that propels her on her cross-country road trip. After convincing her father, Rodeo, to drive all night (something like 12 hours, he later claims) they end up in Tampa. I imagine, he’s just exaggerating – by A LOT. It takes less than 3 hours to get to Tampa from Naples. Regardless, Geimhart makes it sound like it takes them 2 to 3 more days just to clear Orlando, Gainesville and finally the rest of the state. Again, Floridian here: From Orlando, I’ve driven to Savannah, GA in five hours and Asheville, NC in nine. A simple Google Maps search could have cleared this up.

Finally, Geimhart just couldn’t decide where or how to end this book. He stretches the climatic ending over at least 4 chapters and the epilogue over 3, languishing over details and getting every standby character he can think of to participate or speak up with a couple of throwaway lines. This construction guy that just showed up? This cop? The goat? It’s all hands on deck. I would have preferred a much quieter, introspective moment.

A younger, less discerning reader might not notice or be bothered by these kinds of discrepancies. But, I couldn’t help it – they tainted my reading experience. “The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise” is warm, sweet and has a lot of heart. It made me chuckle and smile. Coyote has a great relationship with her father and I loved the platonic friendship she develops with Salvador. But, overall, this book felt clumsily put together.
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Reading Progress

April 7, 2019 – Started Reading
April 7, 2019 – Shelved
April 8, 2019 –
page 79
22.97% "If you drive 12 hours from Naples, Florida you don’t end up in Tampa. But I’m gonna assume Rodeo is just exaggerating. 😅"
April 8, 2019 –
page 79
22.97% "If you drive 12 hours from Naples, Florida you don’t end up in Tampa. But I’m gonna assume Rodeo is just exaggerating. 😅"
April 8, 2019 –
page 159
46.22% "How big does Gemeinhart think Florida actually is?!"
April 8, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer You're right about Latinos seeming to always be put in the "Mexican" box. We have a significant Latinx community here and if you care to ask, very few of them are Mexican, and will even be insulted if you call them that.


message 2: by MC (new) - rated it 3 stars

MC Yeah if just feels like a lazy way of writing and it annoys me.


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