Customer Reviews for

Bless Me, Ultima

Average Rating 4
( 120 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(56)

4 Star

(32)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(12)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

An original story.

I liked the aspect of mystery and how it is told from the perspective of an innocent young boy who is forced to grow up as he witnesses and experiences life. Great symbolism and writing style.

posted by 1539804 on August 17, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

16 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

A blessing in book form

I've intended to read Anaya since I read an excerpt of his work a couple of years back in a high level course about Spanish literature. We were discussing the genre of "magical realism."

Bless Me, Ultima is an intriguing story told by a very interesting narrator, yo...
I've intended to read Anaya since I read an excerpt of his work a couple of years back in a high level course about Spanish literature. We were discussing the genre of "magical realism."

Bless Me, Ultima is an intriguing story told by a very interesting narrator, young Antonio Luna-Marez. The narrative style is smooth and clean. The story itself is compelling and thought provoking.

My biggest "problem" with the book was that the 6-8 year old narrator felt a bit too old. I acknowledge that this is a case of a retrospective narrator looking back with a more mature eye. But still, its not distinguishable where the "mature" future narrator is superimposing his thoughts over those of his younger self. While I have met pensive and thoughtful 6 year olds who ask deep questions, I haven't met one that runs so deeply in such an intense and thorough thought process for a period of multiple years of self-discovery and exploration of life's heavier themes. Even then, Anaya's writing still is fresh and honest and I only found myself jarred a couple of times at the thought of Antonio's young age juxtaposed with his mature thoughts.

The themes and plot of the story were well constructed and resulted in a well driven flow of the ~2 years of Antonio's life that we're exploring. The closely knit themes of family, religion, identity and purpose are presented to the reader as highly pressing themes that are bearing down on our narrator but without any imminent resolution.

In fact, as time goes on, Antonio uncovers more questions and problems rather than finding new answers. Torn between his father's wild "wanderlust"-filled rancher family and his mother's grounded, earth-bound farming family, Antonio struggles to figure out how he can please each of his parents. This struggle is amplified by his mother's intense Catholicism and his father's free-spirit and Ultima's mysticism. Later in the book, yet another religious influence appears, closely related to Ultima's views, and yet still different.

Antonio wants to honor his parents, to honor God, and to fulfill his destiny. Unfortunately, he is constantly conflicted when trying to honor one parent without disappointing the other and he is filled with more and more doubts the closer he gets to a possible understanding of God. His destiny seems to be constantly sliding away from him as he tries to unravel it.

The ending of this book further exemplifies its genre of magical realism and while I can accept it for what it is, it left me a little unsettled. That's probably part of the purpose. This isn't a book that wants to answer life's deep questions for you. Rather, it wants to help you understand how to approach those questions and seek the answers on your own. This is a compelling and interesting look at one life caught between many alternating influences.

Even if you don't live in a small farming/ranching pueblo in New Mexico, there is a good chance you can take some of the themes and questions from this book and apply them to your own life in some way. Everybody, in some form or another, has some sort of opposite influences pulling them in different directions each for good reasons and with great arguments. How we deal with those confusing moral conundrums is the core definition of our identity.

posted by theokester on June 15, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 120 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 6
  • Posted June 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A blessing in book form

    I've intended to read Anaya since I read an excerpt of his work a couple of years back in a high level course about Spanish literature. We were discussing the genre of "magical realism."

    Bless Me, Ultima is an intriguing story told by a very interesting narrator, young Antonio Luna-Marez. The narrative style is smooth and clean. The story itself is compelling and thought provoking.

    My biggest "problem" with the book was that the 6-8 year old narrator felt a bit too old. I acknowledge that this is a case of a retrospective narrator looking back with a more mature eye. But still, its not distinguishable where the "mature" future narrator is superimposing his thoughts over those of his younger self. While I have met pensive and thoughtful 6 year olds who ask deep questions, I haven't met one that runs so deeply in such an intense and thorough thought process for a period of multiple years of self-discovery and exploration of life's heavier themes. Even then, Anaya's writing still is fresh and honest and I only found myself jarred a couple of times at the thought of Antonio's young age juxtaposed with his mature thoughts.

    The themes and plot of the story were well constructed and resulted in a well driven flow of the ~2 years of Antonio's life that we're exploring. The closely knit themes of family, religion, identity and purpose are presented to the reader as highly pressing themes that are bearing down on our narrator but without any imminent resolution.

    In fact, as time goes on, Antonio uncovers more questions and problems rather than finding new answers. Torn between his father's wild "wanderlust"-filled rancher family and his mother's grounded, earth-bound farming family, Antonio struggles to figure out how he can please each of his parents. This struggle is amplified by his mother's intense Catholicism and his father's free-spirit and Ultima's mysticism. Later in the book, yet another religious influence appears, closely related to Ultima's views, and yet still different.

    Antonio wants to honor his parents, to honor God, and to fulfill his destiny. Unfortunately, he is constantly conflicted when trying to honor one parent without disappointing the other and he is filled with more and more doubts the closer he gets to a possible understanding of God. His destiny seems to be constantly sliding away from him as he tries to unravel it.

    The ending of this book further exemplifies its genre of magical realism and while I can accept it for what it is, it left me a little unsettled. That's probably part of the purpose. This isn't a book that wants to answer life's deep questions for you. Rather, it wants to help you understand how to approach those questions and seek the answers on your own. This is a compelling and interesting look at one life caught between many alternating influences.

    Even if you don't live in a small farming/ranching pueblo in New Mexico, there is a good chance you can take some of the themes and questions from this book and apply them to your own life in some way. Everybody, in some form or another, has some sort of opposite influences pulling them in different directions each for good reasons and with great arguments. How we deal with those confusing moral conundrums is the core definition of our identity.

    16 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

    good book!

    i liked the book. it was challenging to read if you do not understand spanish. overall i recomend the book to everyone.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2005

    Thought it was a must but it turned into dust!

    I had to read this book for my english class at Crenshaw High and we had to read 5 chapters a night and I just couldn't get through chapter one. This book is the most boring book I have ever tried to read. So don't even try to read it;it's confusing boring and not even alittle bit interesting. This book is a waste of time. Sorry Rudolfo Anaya maybe next time you'll get it.

    9 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2009

    An original story.

    I liked the aspect of mystery and how it is told from the perspective of an innocent young boy who is forced to grow up as he witnesses and experiences life. Great symbolism and writing style.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2004

    Worst Book Ever!

    I was assigned to read this book for a school project. I only had to read 20 pages a night and I couldn't even get through that with out falling asleep or thinking of everything else I could do. This book is not interesting it provides nothing whatsoever on the culture of New Mexico. It is very weird as far as religion and black magic. I never thought it was possible for a book to have so many murders or such profanity! This is no doubt the worst book I have ever read!

    8 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2012

    This is a wonderful story book. If you're not Mexican American,

    This is a wonderful story book. If you're not Mexican American, it will be hard for you to relate to and understand this story. You have to have an OPEN mind to appreciate things that that are foreign to you.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2003

    Interesting, but Annoying

    'Bless Me, Ultima' is, overall, a good book. The descriptions of young Tony's dreams are vivid and beautiful, and this book contains loads of symbolism. However, its Roman Catholic characters believe almost grossly inaccurate theology. Since this book is based around religion, their 'bad' theology can be misleading and even angering at times. Also, this book does not really end, rather it comes to an abrupt stop. Despite this, it is still quite an intersting book, making it decent and worth the read.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2007

    GREAT BOOK!

    Awesome book. The themes in this book are something we can all relate too. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to discover more about culture and fokelore. Two thumbs up !

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommended

    The story takes place in the 1940's in Guadalupe, New Mexico where a young boy named Antonio Marez is raised. He has a mental maturity far beyond his age and is always longing for truth. His family takes in a local elderly miracle worker named Ultima, and she builds a strong bond with Antonio as he takes on the many challenges of his life. He witnesses many injustices, murders, and the death of innocent people. He is also confused by conflicting beliefs such as his household Catholicism and witchcraft, and his parents both want different things for his future. As he encounters these dramatic situations, Ultima continually mentors him and encourages him to think for himself. This theme of individualistic thinking and beliefs is constantly being preached to Antonio as he struggles with the opposing beliefs. Antonio and Ultima continue to bond through various experiences together. One day they go to dispel ghosts from a house they believe were placed there by a man named Tenorio. After Ultima dispels the ghosts Tenorio¿s daughter becomes sick and Tenorio blames Ultima. Ultima sends Antonio to his uncle¿s farm to keep him safe where one day he is chased down by Tenorio. Antonio barely escapes alive, but Tenorio shoots Ultima¿s owl. The owl is a sole part of Ultima¿s being and Ultima soon dies. Through all his hardships Antonio is reminded by Ultima that he needs to take all of them into account and use them to form his beliefs.
    Personally, I enjoyed the way the book was written, and the theme of individualistic thinking, and it is hard to come up with criticism. If anything there was unnecessary detail Anaya could have left out. Overall, the book helped me see the big picture in my beliefs and that criticism should never keep me from sharing them. If you are looking for something inspirational in the spiritual sense, nothing beats Bless Me, Ultima.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2000

    An interesting book

    I was a bit unsatisfied with this novel. I had never read anything from a Chicano author until this. It was an interesting view on Catholicism, though. I thought it was quite curious that the mother is a devout Catholic, and yet she houses a curendera. I am not familiar with Catholicism, but I would not think that this would be something completely 'right' in the eyes of the church. I was, however, enthralled with Anaya's incredible use of imagery. I could actually see what he was describing to me. I rarely see this anymore, so it was a breath of fresh air to see an author that actually knows how to use literary devices. I would recommend this book, but, if you are not familiar with espanol you may have a problem understanding parts of it. Most of the conversations between the family members are written in spanish, and it made it very interesting to read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 16, 2012

     'Bless Me, Ultima', written by Rudolfo Anaya   is a very good b

     'Bless Me, Ultima', written by Rudolfo Anaya   is a very good book. I'm used to just reading sport books but this book got me hooked.
    The book is about a young boy named   Antonio, the youngest in the family and he becomes fascinated with Ultima's healing powers. 
    Long ago, María convinced Gabriel to move to the town of Guadalupe so that their children could have an education, and Gabriel still
    misses the life on the open plains of the llano.Antonio is happy that his parents have decided to take Ultima into their home and to provide for her.
    We the summer is coming to an end, Antonio spends his mornings walking with Ultima, gathering herbs and medicines from the llano.  
     Ultima teaches him that plants have spirits like people and tells him stories about the old days. Antonio realizes that Ultima is happiest when she is
    out on the llano, and her happiness helps him to realize that he too is a part of the llano and a part of nature . The book shows how Antonio grows on
     Ultima and starts to go with her on  her trips to help heal people who are sick or are put under a spell by evil people and she does her best to make them
     better. Antonio learns life lessons and how important it is to choice from the good or bad. The book shows and talks about spritural stuff and in all is a great book
     I love this book and would have to give it a 5 star or an A cause I've never had a book keep me wanting to read more and i never read.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    Amazing

    Greatbook highly recommend it

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2012

    Bless Me Ultima

    I read this book a few years ago on a recommendation...glad I bought it because I LOVED IT. Couldn't put it down, in fact I read it twice & it even inspired me to write a piece. The ending made me cry like a baby. Complex book, not for everyone, not all will grasp it's depth.....

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2006

    Summer Reading List

    This was quite an interesting book. I will be attending a Catholic school and I had to read these books before the new school year began, so I figured they would all have a religous theme. This one did, as Antonio was searching for answers about his faith and beliefs, but it also had many references to witchcraft and evil spirits. Also, I was extremely disappointed and appauled at the use of the 'F-word' and other unmentionables more than once in conversations with his unbelievably impolite friends.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2005

    This book is so amazing...

    Ok, I didn't choose to read this on my own. It was a required reading for a class I took in 1991 called 'Chicano Studies.' I recently found it again and re-read it. Poor Tony is stuck between so many cultures and traditions: His grandmother the healer vs. Catholic religion his mother's farming family vs. his father's wandering family accepting the Mexican, Indian or American cultures. How does he find his own identity among it all?

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2005

    OMG someone kill me now...

    0k this book was so boring! I coldn't even read the first page without my mind wandering. If it was up to me i would not have picked this book for a book report for my english class at Tracy High. The weirdest thing is I DO like to read just not ones that are soo boring like this one.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2005

    Bless me from this book!

    This book was an English requirement. I found it extremely unrealistic and not entertaining in the slightest. A bit of a joke really.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2001

    Best book this year

    This is the best book I have read this year. It is suspenseful and funny. It kept me on the edge of my seat ever since I began reading it. It would have gotten four stars had it not been for the abundance of vulgar language used in it. Other than that it was awesome.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    American Classic Must Read! A life changing, thought changing bo

    American Classic Must Read!
    A life changing, thought changing book. It is so well written, the reader feels all the emotion, tension, and passion of the characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2012

    Beautiful

    Oh my goodness. The ending. I cried. I had to read the book for school, I didn't think I'd enjoy it but I love it. It brought up so many of the same questions I have about religion too. Antonio was very relatable but I would agree that neither him nor his friends sounded their age. They sounded more like middle schoolers. My other gripe is the potrayel of girls, obviously Ultima is a wonderful character, but the school girls and Antonio's sisters all seemed to be the same character. Nitpicking aside, the writing and description was beautiful. I love it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 120 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 6