I think it’s a little weird/unfair/against the rules for me to write about this, since it wasn’t a book I read for pleasure. I was supposed to read this in Fall 2008 for Linguistics 155AC but never got around to it because, oh, IT’S 562 PAGES AND WHO HAS TIME TO DO THAT DURING SCHOOL. Seriously. But despite this book’s exhausting weight and the author’s exhaustingly exhaustive writing style, the story was pretty damn interesting.
What do I mean by exhaustive? Well, in regular American English books, we see a sentence like “John threw Bob the ball.” In Victor Villaseñor’s book, which supposedly wasn’t translated from English, but which was totally and completely obviously written by a native Spanish speaker (not a bad thing, of course — just an obvious thing), we see this: “Salvador tossed him the keys. Victoriano caught them.” If English is your first language, this kind of discourse will drive you up a wall. Throw in a couple hundred million descriptions like “He felt warm and good and happy” and a few trillion bajillion “Oh’s” at the beginning of sentences that DO NOT start with quotation marks, and you have yourself a clusterfuck of frustration. Every single question asked ever in the book is answered, every single process is described with painstaking detail, and literally no leaf is left unturned. If this family, or these two families had leaves to turn, they’d get every single one. I guess, besides learning that I’m incredibly ignorant and impatient, I also learned that life for them was a ritual. Everything was a blessing. Though I would not take it upon myself to beat thanksgiving into the ground with a huge fucking club, it was nice not to see people take anything for granted. Life in the 20s was not wasteful as it is now, especially in an area like Los Altos de Jalisco or La Lluvia del Oro in Mexico. And life in a Mexican village was about supporting everyone, not just your family. Even thought your family is really freaking important. As an adult, you are responsible for your aging parents. And now, it’s like every man for himself, and the parents are totally responsible for the kids for much longer. Basically, it comes down to the fact that we’re all a bunch of spoiled pricks with too big a carb intake and too small a work ethic. We’ve been raised wrong this entire time.
Everything in the world of Lupe and Salvador was a dream, including the term they used for each other — truelove. One word. I wanted to kill this word by the end of the book. Maybe I’m bitter or whatever, but it was annoying to say the least. I supposed terms like “honey” and “sweetie pie” could have been bandied around until I really lost my marbles, but seeing this truelove thing thrown around was just like a taunt.
One thing I did realize is that metaphors, when used properly, can be totally legit. Too bad none of the notes I took make any sense. Sorry. But I had to get all this out there. This book angered me too much. A love story is a beautiful thing, and these two people had an interesting destiny/twist of fate/stroke of luck come their way. Or whatever. If you have time, read this. But be prepared to turn into an editor while doing so. There’s some extraneous material, and that’s an understatement.