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Saturday November 25th 2017

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Bless Me, Ultima (by Rudolfo Anaya)

A book review by Danielle Waghiyi

The book Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya (TQS Publications) is a  book in the style of magical realism. This book caught my attention on how Antonio, the main character, was able to get along with Ultima, his grandmother.  This book would appeal to both girls and boys: girls would like this book because of the fondness of between Tony and Ultima, while boys will like it because of the adventures Tony has throughout the book.

In the beginning of the book Tony–Antonio–has dreams of being born. In his dream, Ultima is the midwife for his mother. Then he finds out that Ultima was going to move in with them. After they met, Tony became very close with her. After she’s lived with them for a while, she dies. Tony was sad but Ultima stayed with him in his dreams.

Tony is a boy at the age of 7 years old, when he meets Ultima.  Ultima is a old wise curandera, a curer of the sick. The setting of the book is in New Mexico. It is not in modern days, it is after the World War II. The theme is to show the relationship between the old and the young.

The author’s style is magical realism and the the author’s technique is to blend in mexican myth and culture. The author uses Ultima’s owl to symbolize her soul and also uses symbolism to show the golden carp as a god. In the book, Anaya uses a lot of metaphor. Such as, “The golden carp has warned us that the land cannot take the weight of the sins.”

This book has connections with the yupik culture. Just like in the book, the yupik culture has a curandera but yupiks call that person a shaman. Another connection would be the good medicine person and the bad medicine person. Unlike the people in the book, yupiks don’t call the bad shamans “witches,” the yupik culture just calls them bad shamans or evil shamans.

I liked this book because of the adventure and connections with the yupik culture. I would recommend this book for anyone to read because all readers will  like the many adventures Tony throughout the book– adventures that will lure you into reading  more  to get to the good parts of the book.

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