Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Under the Feet of Jesus

348273With the same audacity with which John Steinbeck wrote about migrant worker conditions in The Grapes of Wrath and T.C. Boyle in The Tortilla Curtain, Viramontes (The Moths and Other Stories) presents a moving and powerful vision of the lives of the men, women, and children who endure a second-class existence and labor under dangerous conditions in California's fields.   This first novel tells the story a young girl, Estrella, and her Latino family as they struggle with arduous farm labor during the summer months, and still manage to latch onto the hope of a liberating future.  Viramontes graces the page with poetic touch, artfully describing poverty conditions and bringing to the reader a panoramic view of social consciousness and unforgettable characters.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Under the Feet of Jesus by Helena Maria Viramontes is one of those books that slowly reveals its secrets to you. With a surface reading of this novel, readers will witness one migrant family's summer experience at a new place to work and the daughter's budding friendship with another migrant boy that is cut short because of illness. But with just a surface read, readers won't get this book. It demands a deeper look. 

Estrella and her family are migrant workers. Though they are United States citizens they are treated as immigrants, with disrespect and disregard. Estrella doesn't really think of fighting for more until she meets Alejo, a boy who dreams of going to college and living the American Dream. Though their friendship seems off-kilter at times, Alejo helps Estrella realize that there is a separation between her and society based on her language, her skin color, her clothing, and the dirt beneath her nails.When Alejo gets sick with no family around to take care of him, his life falls into the hands of Estrella and her mother, Petra. With the last of their money, they try to take him to the doctor and the harsh treatment they receive and the uncaring attitude is appalling. 

Readers of this book will take part in a bilingual experience that challenges the differences that people make between races, careers, and ethnicities. They'll connect with Estrella and her family based on their humanity and the common ground all human beings share. They'll be slightly disturbed at the treatment Estrella receives, stuck between her family and the way society dictates the American way of life. I'd recommend this book to readers who enjoy learning more about different social groups, historical events, and those who want to expand the boundaries of social norms. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups
 

What's Next, Wednesday (84)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.


31848274


With my heavy reading list for grad school right now, I'm trying to keep my TBR pile a little lighter than normal. Though, I'm still looking forward to reading Living the Dream by Lauren Berry. I'm really hoping to get to it this weekend. :) This book just seems like it's going to be incredibly relatable and hilarious. Maybe I'll be able to catch up with all my reading on Holiday Break...? Wish me luck! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (293)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


36096686
If You Only Knew (Kindle 47%)
    - Cynthia Clark

This could have been me, getting ready for Maya's sixteenth birthday. Instead, I'm sitting on the sidelines, a spectator, as Ellen prepares to shower the child I'd given birth to with love and gifts.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

What's Next, Wednesday (83)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

348273

I'm looking forward to...

Under the Feet of Jesus by Helena Maria Viramontes. This book about an immigrant family living in California during the 1960s is on my class reading list so it's up next on my reading list. This book came out in 1995 so I'm wondering if any of you have read it? If you did, let me know what you thought of it. I'm looking at this book from a feminist perspective and how the author represented the immigrant family. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (293)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.

36096686

If You Only Knew
(Kindle 21%)
    - Cynthia Clark

The investigation had moved on from John Larkin's death to the girls who had been found. The bodies had started to be identified and police were trying to determine what had happened to them.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Thursday Night Club and Other Stories of Christmas Spirit

36513399A joyous and deeply emotional collection of three unforgettable Christmas novellas.

The Thursday Night Club: Five college friends, three men and two women, have been getting together every Thursday night to share humble meals and an abundance of laughter. But when tragedy takes one of them, leaving the others to question the fairness of life, the Thursday Night Club decides to embark on a contest in the memory of the generous spirit of their fallen brother. The objective of the contest is simple: whoever performs the kindest deed by Christmas night wins the pot – four quarters. And there are only two conditions: the benevolent deed must be anonymous, and it cannot cost a single penny to pull off. As the four friends undertake the contest, the healing begins and they become inspired beyond their expectations. There might be a winner in this competition, but it is very clear there will be no losers.

A Christmas Wish: Steph is on a search for truth in her heart as she faces the prospect of real love for the first time. Brian is out to enjoy his favorite season in a way that doctors never thought he could. And at the center of it all is their grandmother, affectionately known as Mama, a woman of remarkable commitment and charity who knows something very important about making Christmas wishes come true.

The Tin-Foil Manger: Published in this volume for the first time, this is the story of Nancy, an elderly woman with little to live for and Jeanne, the caretaker who wants to believe that Nancy has more to live for. Together, they embark on a journey to the past – a past of modest Christmases, tin-foil mangers, and abundant love – to rediscover the time when Nancy felt truly alive. Nancy’s memories and how they touch Jeanne, will turn this Christmas into one for the ages.

Rich with emotion and profound with meaning, these three stories of Christmas spirit that will strike a chord in your heart any time of year and make you look at the holiday season in new ways.

*May Contain Spoilers*

If you're ready to get in the holiday spirit, The Thursday Night Club and Other Stories will certainly have you on your way! Steven Manchester shares three heart-warming stories with his readers in this short, easy to read collection. 

I've previously reviewed The Thursday Night Club and therefore, will skip over it here. However, if you want to read my review, click here and enjoy. :)

Now, out of the two remaining stories, both compete as compassionate and moving. What I loved most about these stories was their subject matter. "A Christmas Wish" tackles an important and relevant topic: homosexuality. I love that Manchester brings this sometimes controversial topic into his collection of Christmas stories and shows it support. Bravo! The wish of the main character of this story is simply to learn how to accept herself and show her true self to the world. With her grandmother's help, this wish just might come true. Who am I kidding? It does! And it's beautiful. Self-identity is a hard thing to recognize and accept and through that emotional and universally human feeling, readers will connect with Steph and realize that the journey for self-acceptance is a deeply personal one that can and will be influenced by outsiders. 

"The Tin-Foil Manger" tackles a different topic: Alzheimer's and the struggle family members have with it. Though the daughters of Nancy are not presented in the best light, Nancy forms a deep friendship with one of her nurses, Jeanne, who is determined to help slow the advancement of Nancy's disease. After learning that Christmas was Nancy's favorite time of year, Jeanne decides to use that holiday season joy to try to bring Nancy back to the present. I enjoyed Jeanne's character and how dedicated she was to Nancy's care. It was also inspiring to see an elderly woman, who was essentially left alone by her family, find friendship and hope in her care facility. It was also enjoyable to read about the Christmas traditions of so many cultures around the world as Manchester fit them into Nancy's memories. Though the flashbacks got a little tenuous at times, it provided the story with a rich background of information. 

Overall, The Thursday Night Club and Other Stories shares the spirit of hope, generosity, acceptance, and love of the holiday season. They were stories that simply made me smile and I think other readers will enjoy reading them just as much. 

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups