Saturday, February 22, 2014

Bless Me, Ultima {A Book Review}

Title : Bless Me, Ultima
Author: Rudolfo Anaya
Publisher: Warner Books
Release Date: first published in 1972
Summary:  from GoodReads:

Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima enters his life. She is a curandera, one who heals with herbs and magic. 'We cannot let her live her last days in loneliness,' says Antonio's mother. 'It is not the way of our people,' agrees his father. And so Ultima comes to live with Antonio's family in New Mexico. Soon Tony will journey to the threshold of manhood. Always, Ultima watches over him. She graces him with the courage to face childhood bigotry, diabolical possession, the moral collapse of his brother, and too many violent deaths. Under her wise guidance, Tony will probe the family ties that bind him, and he will find in himself the magical secrets of the pagan past—a mythic legacy equally as palpable as the Catholicism of Latin America in which he has been schooled. At each turn in his life there is Ultima who will nurture the birth of his soul.

“It is because good is always stronger than evil. Always remember that, Antonio. The smallest bit of good can stand against all the powers of evil in the world and it will emerge triumphant.” - Ultima
 “Understanding comes with life. As a man grows he sees life and death, he is happy and sad, he works, plays, meets people - sometimes it takes a lifetime to acquire understanding, because in the end understanding simply means having sympathy for people. ”

My Take:
Being of  Mexican American decent, I can't believe that I hadn't read this before. But I'm glad that I did pick it up, because Bless Me, Ultima has become one of my favorite books so far. The book is a coming of age book, for Antonio Marez. He seems to be stuck in following the dreams of his mother's people or the beliefs of his father's people. 

On his journey to find who he really is, this six year old, sees a lot of horrible things. Death, evil, and superstitions lay deep in his small town. But when these horrible things happen, there is one woman who the townspeople turn to, Ultima. Ultima is the towns curandera, they call her La Grande, and she has delivered hundreds of babies, has lifted curses and evil things. 

Ultima is getting old, and Antonio's family takes her in to live with them. Instantly, Antionio and Ultima form a bond that seem to have started ever since Ultima delivered Antonio. Ultima takes him under her wing, and Antonio takes care of the old woman. 

Ultima's presence in his house, takes Antonio to various places where evil looms. He begins to question his beliefs, his dreams that have been set for him, and even his religion. But with Ultima by his side, he realizes that even the smallest of Good always defeat the greatest of Evil. 

I really enjoyed this book. Anaya is an amazing story teller. His words captivated me, and although at times I got goosebumps it sucked me back in every time. 

Rating: 5 out of 5

Want to see what I've been reading, check out my other reviews: Book Thoughts 
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  1. always good to have a good read.

  2. It was. I liked it.. Plus it had an owl in it. The owl played an important role in the story.
    I know how much you love Owls :)

  3. I may have to check it out. and yes I love owls. they are now my passion.


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