I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Published by Tu Books on September 15, 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Verse
When Lupita sees Mami crying over a pesky mesquite growing in her rose garden, she knows something is wrong. Through the kitchen window, she overhears that Mami has cancer. After an operation, things seem to return to normal for Lupita and her family, and they go on with their lives, going back and forth between attending school, working, and living in the United States and visiting family and friends in Mexico. However, when Mami’s cancer returns, Papi doesn’t know whether he should accompany Mami during her long convalescence at an out of town cancer clinic or stay home to care for Lupita and her seven brothers and sisters. Suddenly, being a high school student, dealing with difficult friends, starring in the school play, even writing, become less important to Lupita than doing whatever it takes to save Mami’s life.
‘Under the Mesquite’ tells the story of Lupita and her Mexican American family. Lupita struggles with finding her own identity in a new place after her family moves from Mexico to the United States. To make matters worse she has discovered that her mother has cancer and will undergo surgery to hopefully give her more time on this Earth. Desperate to help in any way she can, Lupita takes care of her 7 younger siblings so that her father can take care of her mother. Unable to handle the stress of the situation, Lupita resorts to writing ‘seeking refuse in the healing power of words.’
I picked this book up after finding out that it’s written in free-verse; I’ve been a sucker for any type of book written in that format recently. Getting a few of these types of books under my belt, I’ve never felt that books have suffered from being written in that format. Unfortunately, this was the case here for me. This was an emotional story that could have been extremely heart-wrenching, but I didn’t feel this emotion come through sufficiently for me. It was an emotional-disconnect for me and it should have been the exact opposite.