My Little Pocketbooks: Review: Bless Me Ultima   

Monday, January 20, 2014

Review: Bless Me Ultima

 
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Bless Me Ultima
Author: Rudolfo Anaya
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Recorded Books
Release Date: September 17, 2007
Audiobook: 11 hours and 16 minutes
Narrator: Robert Ramirez

Source: Free from Audiobooksync
http://amzn.to/151keJG

Book Description

Winner of the Premio Quinto Sol National Chicano Literary Award -- Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima comes to stay with his family in New Mexico. She is a curandera, one who cures with herbs and magic. Under her wise wing, Tony will test the bonds that tie him to his people, and discover himself in the pagan past, in his father's wisdom, and in his mother's Catholicism. And at each life turn there is Ultima, who delivered Tony into the world -- and will nurture the birth of his soul.

Review

Every summer (since I started blogging) I go to Audiobooksync to download free audiobooks. Most of the audiobooks are classics like this one. I have to say that I never heard of it and I was surprised to find an audiobook of an author of color on their list last year. Yes, it has taken me almost a year to get to this one.
Bless Me, Ultima is the story of 6 year old Tony told through by his older self. The book starts off when Ultima his maternal grandmother comes to live with him and his family. The author sets the story in the 1940's New Mexico in a very small rural town surrounded by water. Ultima is special, she is not a witch, but everyone in town thinks she is since she cures the sick with herbs and magic of course.
This audiobook was extremely slow to me. I started it several months ago and just could not get into it at all. Listening to the narrator with his painfully long pauses made it hard to follow the story without having my mind wander off. Once I changed the audiobook setting from 1.0 speed to 1.5 speed the audiobook was so much easier for me to follow.  The pace and the randomness of Tony's thoughts, dreams and conversations kind of felt awkward to me since he is a young child.
I have to say that I was taken back by the grand, and deep thoughts of this 6 year old boy whose family thinks he was born special. Tony has very deep thoughts about God, religion and spirituality for his age. These thoughts and questions seem to be from the man telling the story and not from the boy in the story. What 6 year old boy would spend his summer contemplating the meaning of God?  I understand the time period was different, but I just could not see this happening at all.
The bond between Tony and Ultima is nice, and I love the way she talks to him unlike the other characters around him. Most of the children had a tendency to talk down to him or bully him throughout the book. I also love how this book looks into the Mexican family, religion, culture. But overall, I was disappointed in the pace the audiobook took. I think if the narrator read the book at a faster pace with fewer pauses, the audiobook would be 10 hours long instead of 11 hours.

Reviews by Other Bloggers 

Recommendations

I recommend this book to teens and older readers due to some violence.

Challenges

This book is number 2 in my Audiobook Reading Challenge
This book is number 1 in my Diversity on the Shelf Challenge
This book number 2 in my New to Me Author Reading Challenge
This book is number 3 in my Good Reads Reading Challenge
This book is letter B in my A-Z Reading Challenge

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