Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Tequila Worm

Canalaes, V. (2005). The tequila worm. New York: Wendy Lamb Books.
This book is a 2006 winner of the Pura Belpre Award.

A wonderful book about Sofia, a young girl growing up in the barrio in McAllen, Texas and the love and support she gets from her family.  The author gives great insight into the Mexican-American culture. There were so many traditions and symbols in the book that helped the reader get a real feel for the culture.  I liked Sofia's strong, independent spirit and her ability to cherish traditions, yet search out for more than just the life in the barrio.  As she grows up she discovers how important family is, even as she begins to lose some of those closest to her.  Her relationship with Berta was fun to watch transform from childhood friends fighting over candy to comadres who would do anything to support the other and their goals.  It was very inspiring to see Sofia decide to branch out of her community to go to a private boarding school that would give her better opportunities in life.  It was even more inspiring for her to actually work to raise the money her family had to pay to get her there.  I tried to imagine what it must have felt like to be that young and work 12 hour days doing physically demanding work.  What perseverance!
The book was an enjoyable read, although there were times when I felt the dialogue  was stiff and not quite natural.  However the theme of the book, as well as the development of the characters, more than made up for this. It really hit on all emotions, with their being parts that made you laugh as well as parts that made you cry!

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