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Monthly Book Discussions > *Monthly Read*: The Little Blue House by Sandra Comino

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message 1: by Ronyell, Your Humble Creator! (new)

Ronyell (rabbitearsblog) | 688 comments Mod
Hello everyone! This month's winner for the June Young Adult book is The Little Blue House by Sandra Comino by Sandra Comino. Please feel free to discuss about what you liked or hated about this book!

message 2: by Manybooks (last edited Jun 01, 2013 05:19AM) (new)

Manybooks | 147 comments I am still in the middle of reading this book. And I am kind of torn about it. The Little Blue House feels a bit like reading magical realism for children, and the book (especially the narrative style and how colour is used) reminds me a bit of the work of Isabel Allende (I guess I feel that way because in Allende's The House of the Spirits, one of the daughters had green hair and in this book, The Little Blue House, the house mysteriously turns blue once a year, in fact, it is love that turns the house blue)

There is a lot of sadness and abuse described in this book, abuse of Cintia by her father especially, abuse of power and political position by the mayor, his wife and their henchmen, racist abuse of Ailin and her people (South American First Nations) by settlers, but also neglect (Cintia's mother abandoned her family, Maria, Cintia's stepmother is too browbeaten by the abusive father to help either Cintia or herself, even the grandmother, as much as she seems to love her granddaughter is also often seemingly telling her to put up with the abuse, to not rock the boat so to speak).

For me, the problem with the book is mostly the writing style. It feels very distancing and superficial and thus especially the abuse seems rather as a list of groceries almost, not as something horrible, that tugs at ones heartstrings. Now, maybe this is a deliberate ploy to make the abuse more palatable for a younger audience, but it just kind of feels strange to me, there is no passion, and while there seems to be empathy and sympathy, it is kind of lost in the style, the superficiality of the style.

However, I do wonder if this might be part and parcel to the fact that The Little Blue House was originally written in Spanish (it is set in Argentina) and that the distancing and distracting feeling of the text (the magical realism of the text) might be an issue of how the latter translates, but specifically, how it translates into English. As a personal example, I have read Isabel Allende both in English and in German translation, and while I enjoyed the German translations very much, the English translations have, to me, always felt distancing, superficial and removed. I thus wonder if reading The Little Blue House in the Spanish original, La casita azul: The Little Blue House, Spanish-Language Edition would leave potential readers with a different feel for the narrative, and that maybe, magical realism always feels somewhat distancing and superficial in English.

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