Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Queen of Water

The Queen of Water
by Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango

Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Realistic Fiction

Synopsis: Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling.  In her village of indigenas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta-stupid Indian-by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants.  When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds.

Virginia quickly grows accustomed to the conveniences and luxuries of mestizo life.  But promised pay and visits to her family are quickly forgotten, as is her bosses' pledge to send her to school.  Beaten and told that the sold purpose of indigenous girls is to serve, Virginia must fight to hold on to her spirit and humor.  She teachers herself to read and write and performs science experiments in secret.

When Virginia's only friend betrays her, she must gather her courage and escape.  But once she's found her freedom, will Virginia-now a teenager caught between cultures-also find a place where she belongs?

In this poignant novel based on a true story, acclaimed author Laura Resau has collaborated with Maria Virginia Farinango to recount one girl's unforgettable journey to self discovery.
From the book jacket

Review:  This book is amazing!  It's remarkable because it is based on a true story.  Virginia is an actual person who recounted her childhood to the author Laura Resau.  As I read the book, it was hard to believe how Virginia kept her spirit throughout the trials of her non existent childhood but she did and she very much triumphed and rose above her situation.  I am truly amazed at her bravery and her positive attitude in spite of being beaten regularly and hiding from her boss for fear of being taken advantage of when she got older.  Her motto was "querer es poder" which translates to "to want is to be able to" or "to want is power."  She kept this motto in her head as she overcame so many obstacles.  Virginia definitely is very intelligent and quite the entrepreneur.  She figures out what she wants and she finds a way to achieve her goals.  As you are reading you can't help but cheer for Virginia when she makes her decisions. It took her a while to stand up for herself but she was 7 years old when she was given to the mestizo couple. I also love reading about the culture in Ecuador between the mestizos and the indigenas.  The author is able to capture the environment and the people in Ecuador.  I would highly recommend that you read this book.  It is a quick read and one that won't disappoint!
Edit: I'm not sure why this book is a young adult novel.  It is definitely for everyone to read, not just teens.  It also is very much like a memoir but the author does create dialogue and also invents some details.  Names have been changed as well so it is not technically a memoir.

Rating: 5 stars

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