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Posted July 13, 2004
A powerful read, deeply moving.
By the Light of My Father's Smile is a story about a family, a broken family. It is the story of Susannah, Magdalena, and their mother and father and of how one act of betrayal from father to daughter splintered this family's love and trust of each other. I found myself deeply involved with the characters and I was able to connect to Susannah (who is constantly searching for new experiences as if she can never be satisfied) and with Magdelena (whose obesity hides the fact that she feels very vulnerable, small and weak to the world). Though at times, I found the story a bit hard to follow because of the different narrators, the story is beautifully written with rich dialogue that evokes the sense of being in Mexico, in the Mundo village, or in Greece or any of the other settings from which the characters tell this tale. The story is deeply sensual telling of Susannah and sexual escapades with both men and women, the mother and father and their deep love and passion which sustained their marriage through the worst of times, and of Magdelena and Manuelito, and the delicious sweetness of first love, both physical and emotional. It is also a story of how important it is to forgive those who have wronged us so that we may be whole and not carry our wounds with us onto death. There are many themes in this book, most noteworthy, the importance of fathers to their daughters sexual well-being, societal views on sex that are hypocritical and damaging to both sexes, and the value of being true to self and at peace with yourself. We are able to go with each of the characters through this story, their individual journeys, learning from their experiences and their mistakes.
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Posted November 7, 2005
dang, ms. walker--what happened?
Where's the feminine genius that composed The Color Purple and Possessing the Secret of Joy? Check this out you all: a father and his family go to Mexico to teach this tribe,the Mundo, about God but this ends up in disaster--the daughter Magdalena falls in love with a Mundo boy named Manuelito and copulates with him and her dad punishes her she becomes his enemy. Years later they are all messed up in the substratum but try to hide it. It's magical and all but she could have fixed the ending just a bit--that's why she lost a star and the book held my attention until that part. Better luck next novel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.