Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Under the Mesquite
Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Under the Mesquite is written as a novel-in-verse and follows Lupita, whose mother is ill with cancer. With her clear voice, Lupita tells us of her family: her hardworking father who saves every penny for their college funds; her mother who can revive even the most frail rose in her garden; and her siblings who, despite their bickering, love each other and are the strength and support Lupita needs to face the difficulties before her. Lupita finds an escape from the harsh reality in acting, and shines in UIL competitions. She tells us of the beauty of Mexico, a beauty she no longer sees since her mother became ill. There is a ray of hope when her mother undergoes treatment, but that hope is soon dashed. Lupita faces her mother's death and decides to leave to pursue higher education hours away from her heartbroken father, but she knows that she must move forward to live her life.
This book reminded me a little bit of The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales, especially when Lupita makes the difficult choice to leave home to pursue a higher education and a better life. Marissa from Ashley Hope Perez's What Can't Wait makes a similar difficult choice. Under the Mesquite is also a Pura Belpre Award winner, like The Tequila Worm.