Title: The Hummingbird’s Daughter
Author: Luis Alberto Urrea
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 5 / 5
It always seems that I have more to say about books I’m criticizing than books I loved. I suppose it’s because I usually begin with high expectations, and when a book lives up to those expectation, there isn’t much to say, but when it doesn’t there has to be a reckoning. This book is one of those great books about which I do not have much to say.
This book struck the perfect balance of realistic and dreamy. Urrea brought the setting to life for me, so real it felt like I could touch it. He weaves magical realism elements into the story perfectly. In the back of books, I keep a running tally on a sticky note: pages numbers where there are quotes I want to write down and remember or points/messages/techniques that I really liked, and another list of page numbers where I found something that made me uncomfortable, something (potentially) objectionable, inconsistencies, or other criticisms. Going back through the “negatives,” I was happy to see that once everything was taken into account, all “objections” evaporated. The only complaint I have, and it is minor compared to how much I enjoyed the book, is that the Tomochic thread didn’t fit in as well as I’d like. It was confusing and I didn’t really understand what was going on, especially having never before heard of Tomochic. It felt rushed, not fully developed, like he included it because it was an important event in Teresa Urrea history and not because his heart was in it.
All in all, this was a pretty luscious read and I am looking forward to reading the sequel.