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#91568 - 05/30/12 09:20 AM June 2012 Selection: Into the Beautiful North
LaSalleUGirl Moderator
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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Yeah, so apparently I shouldn't post when the heat index in Philadelphia is set to "Amazon Rainforest" because it melts my brain... As CaitlinM has helpfully pointed out, our June selection is Luis Alberto Urrea's Into the Beautiful North, the story of a young Mexican woman named Nayeli who realizes that all the men in her village have traveled north to the United States, leaving the village vulnerable to bandidos. After watching The Magnificant Seven, she determines to travel north herself to recruit her own "Magnificent Seven" to return with her and protect the town.

Discussion begins on June 15. Happy reading!

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#91585 - 06/21/12 01:07 PM Re: June 2012 Selection: Into the Beautiful North [Re: LaSalleUGirl]
AngDS
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/08/00
Posts: 134

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I thought this book was pretty good. I think Urrea is a great writer and had never read him before.

I enjoyed the premise - striking out to find your own Magnificent 7 struck me as profoundly naive but at the same time extremely positive and hopeful. I was interested to see where it would go.

Reading the story was great and I didn't think a ton about the politics until I was done. I thought Urrea was making the point that immigrating and living illegally is a harrowing and difficult experience (which I am sure it is) and that many want to go home (which I am not sure I believed). While it is too bad they cannot find work and opportunity at home, I thought the group had a good mix of positive and negative experiences.

I enjoyed Nayeli - she had such a sunny personality. She had a lot of responsibility but carried it well.

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#91592 - 07/02/12 11:25 AM Re: June 2012 Selection: Into the Beautiful North [Re: AngDS]
LaSalleUGirl Moderator
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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AngDS, thanks for getting the conversation started! Sorry I'm so far behind. We're in the midst of a major family project that is eating up all my spare time AND brain space, and I completely forgot to come over here and post.

I loved Into the Beautiful North, and it reminded me so overwhelmingly of everything I loved about The Hummingbird's Daughter. In a way, that sort of surprised me, because the timeframe for North is so different. But Urrea's narrative voice just works so well for me, and I find his characters so entertaining. I particularly enjoyed Nayeli and Tacho's roadtrip to Kankakee, despite its unhappy ending.

Now I really can't wait to read Queen of America!~

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#91603 - 07/14/12 07:11 PM Re: June 2012 Selection: Into the Beautiful North [Re: LaSalleUGirl]
CaitlinM2



Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 457
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area

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I found the feel of Into the Beautiful North rather different than The Hummingbird's Daughter, no doubt due to its contemporary setting, in a world that is known to me, as opposed to the epic and historical narrative of The Hummingbird's Daughter. Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy Into the Beautiful North a lot, because I did.

Nayeli struck me as just the definition of a plucky heroine: smart, determined, creative, and able to roll with the punches. And as for how her quest shook out, I was satisfied with the twin resolutions of the wild success of the repopulation campaign (as fantastical as it seems)* and the failure of Nayeli's search for her father (as sadly realistic as it seems). It was fun to be along for the adventure, as the colorful and affecting characters accumulated.

*Of course, there has been a drain of Mexican immigrant labor back out of the US in recent years due to the recession, not to speak of immigration policy.

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