The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea

The Hummingbird's Daughter

Based on the legend of Urrea’s sainted cousin, the author uses historical fiction to bring 16 year old Teresita to life, during a period of violence and political upheaval in Mexico, near the end of the 19th century.

What I liked about the book:  learning about Mexican culture, the civil war and some of it’s causes, Teresita’s early life and her relationship with her father.  I am fascinated with the lives of saints, and was excited to learn that The Hummingbird’s Daughter would chronicle such a life, but this is by no means a religious book.  In fact, it has a distinctly secular tone.

What I didn’t like about the book:  The characters are really kept at arms length.  Despite the abundance of drama in the book, I never felt connected to any of these people.  I wish the author had included more background information because much of the culture and politics of 19th century Mexico eludes me.  I felt thrust into the midst of it without reference, and it left me with many questions unanswered.

I have, on several occasions, tried to read novels about Latin America, and have never found one that I really enjoyed. I don’t know if something gets lost in the translation, or if I just lack enough background information about the culture and history of Latin America to truly enjoy what I’m reading.  I will say that this novel is one of the better ones I’ve read, but I still can’t give it more than 3 stars.

3 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2006
528 pages

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About Suzanne

I'm a stay-at-home mom with three kids who loves to read.
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