"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

Borges

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Virgin’s Guide to Mexico


The Virgin’s Guide to Mexio
Author: Eric B. Martin

Publisher: MacAdam/Cage

ISBN-10: 1596922109

ISBN-13: 978-1596922105


The Virgin’s Guide to Mexico
is a compelling tale of a young girl and her search for identity. Alma, a bright but homely student who is nothing like her beautiful, Mexican mother decides to take a year off after being accepted into Harvard. She plans to go to Spain but her parents don’t allow it so she’s stuck in Texas having to go to the local college for a year.

Alma finds some letters of her mothers from a grandfather she never knew she had that lives in Mexico. Curious as to why her mother never speaks of her life in Mexico and having that typical teenage disdain for her parents, she runs away to find her grandfather and the secrets her mother hides.
Alma hopes that Mexico will welcome her. She has a vision of Mexico as something out of a dream, a warm and welcoming place. She’ll find her grandfather and somehow, everything will be better.

Alma’s first foray into Mexico is frightening so she heads back into the US, disguises herself as a boy and attaches herself to a group of guys heading over the border.

Through Alma’s eyes we find out about the true Mexico, not the beautiful imagined dream. There are strange characters and unsavory ones, a strange old man who lives in a shack filled with beautiful paintings and the guys she hangs out with. The underbelly of Mexico is exposed with visits to whorehouses, bars and parties. Underneath the beautifully written prose is this dark hint of menace throughout. It’s a little unsettling and keeps you riveted to the page.

Alma’s quest alternates with that of her parent’s to find her. Her beautiful mother wonders what she did wrong, while her dot com rich father is determined to find her.

Eric B. Martin weaves a multi-dimensional and emotional tale of love, secrets, misunderstandings and modern Mexico. He sheds light on the tremendous poverty and challenges facing Mexico and it’s people. Martin also manages to show the shimmer of brilliance and beauty, the glory that was once Mexico and at times still is.




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