Queen of America

Queen of America

by Luis Alberto Urrea
4.1 9

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Queen of America 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
autumnbluesreviews More than 1 year ago
As a first time reader of this authors work, I was quite surprised by Urrea's writing style. His Queen of America is definitely not what I expected, in fact it was better than I expected. The main character of this book, Teresita, on who the story is based, actually existed, although most of the book is fiction. Urrea has a pre-sequel to this book, which I have not yet read, however this did not affect my reading of Queen of America, as it did not read like a sequel. I actually was completely surprised to learn Teresita was actually a real healer in her time back in the early 1900's instead of a fictitious character. This I did not note until after I read the notes and acknowledgement section at the end of the book. Urrea's quirky style of writing and his list of characters remind me of a western-style movie with comedy scattered throughout. Teresita, her family, and friends are all characters one quickly feels comfortable with and the ongoing saga made it was difficult to put this book down. Being of Hispanic descent but not Mexican, I understood some of the Mexican words scattered throughout the book, while other times I had no idea what the word might mean. However, this did not in any way keep me from enjoying this book and I laughed out loud many times throughout this book. At other times it I was so caught up in the characters it was as if I was family. Teresita seems like the average poor Mexican, however, she also has a gift of what this generation may call healing of the hands. A term that back in the 1900's was considered by some to be witchcraft and at times she is ostracized for it. This book was an amazing adventure of love, laughter, pain and sorrow as Teresita lives her life, at times traveling across the continental United States. Urrea's words seem to carry you, when you feel the heat of the desolate desert or the scraping of the horse between your legs, while winding through the hills of Arizona. At other times you are riding on a windowless, dusty train through hills and valleys of the Old West with awe and wonder at the first glimpse of a creek bed or river, or maybe even the ocean. What may happen next? The wonders seem to never cease for what Teresita's next contingency may be. Yet in the end, Teresita finds exactly what she is longing for.
Reviews-ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite The setting is Mexico, 1892, the Tomochic rebellion. Teresita Urrea’s people considered her a saint, and spiritual leader. The title Saint of Cabora embarrassed the humble young woman. Teresita was strong with a heart of gold. The people looked to her as their leader. Her very existence infuriated the Mexican government, who desired her death. She was born to a poverty stricken peasant, Cayetana Chavez, and a wealthy Mexican rancher, Don Tomás Urrea. She accrued the wrath of Porfirio Díaz when she encouraged the Yaqui Indians to reject the rule of the Diaz government. She was arrested and sentenced to death. Upon her escape, she and her father fled to Arizona for her safety. Even in the United States she was not safe. "The Queen of America" continues to share Teresita’s life and romance. I normally read very quickly devouring a book but in this instance I listened carefully to the CDs. I would turn the book off and think about what I’d just heard and then continue on. I savored the description of the plight of the people. The quality of the writing is magnificent, almost poetic. This tale will bring tears to the eyes of the most stoic reader. She was a normal woman elevated to “sainthood” by the people that needed a hero. All she wanted was a normal life. This is the second book in a series. The first book is the "Hummingbird’s Daughter". The two books are very different; the first is written in a flamboyant and lively manner while the second is more sedate and subdued. While I prefer to read books in the proper order, "Queen of America" stands well on its own. I believe the author is also the reader/narrator. His accent is perfect. He reads with just the right intonation. This book convinces me that Luis Alberto Urrea is a writer whose work will someday join other classics.
CT_Lady More than 1 year ago
This book is a sequel to Luis Alberto Urrea's previous book The Hummingbird's Daughter and continues the saga of Teresita as she flees to America to escape the tyranny of the Mexican government's efforts to politicize her and denigrate her faith and her dedication to tending to the poor and sick peasantry. Told with a bit of irony and humor, the story is compelling and is a page-turner. Teresita, to the dismay of her father and the rest of her family, continues her ministrations to her devoted followers, now in America. During her mission of service, she is taken advantage of by shady American grifters eager to use her popularity and mystique among the poor and downtrodden for profit. This is a story of survival and redemption. I enjoyed the book immensely, especially Urrea's writing style, although I must say that if I hadn't read The Hummingbird's Daughter first, I might have been somewhat lost in understanding Teresita and the Urrea family.
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SaraswatiMa More than 1 year ago
The incredible journey in the United States of Teresa Urrea, "la Santa de Cabora," is conjured vividly by her relative, Luis Alberto Urrea. This novel continues the story he began with "The Hummingbird's Daughter." It combines real historical figures and events with vibrantly imaginative characterizations. Although the book is quite long, it is thoroughly engrossing. Anyone who enjoys E.L. Doctorow’s novels will probably love this. It gives voice and depth to Mexican-American and Indian history and life at the turn of the twentieth century. There is so much substance and interest here that it would be a great choice for book clubs. I'm going to recommend it for mine!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Urrea pens a masterful tale with richly developed characters. For me, Queen of American is even a better read than The Hummingbird's Daughter, perhaps because as Teresita matures into womanhood, we find a very beleiveable human being who only wants to be a woman and to serve God. Yet, she must move across the country as she seeks to survive and find some semblance of peace.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago