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Review: Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

June 24, 2009 By: J.C. Montgomery Category: Reviews

Into the Beautiful North


  Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea (2009) 
  Fiction, 352 pages
  Little, Brown and Company

  Review copy courtesy of Hachette Book Group




Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the US to find work. Recently, it has dawned on her that he isn’t the only man who has left town. In fact, there are almost no men in the village–they’ve all gone north. While watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli decides to go north herself and recruit seven men–her own “Siete Magníficos”–to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over.

I have to admit I don’t think much of the synopses put on jackets or on book flaps. The above is accurate, but I found it an over simplification of the story Urrea tells.

Nayeli is young, and in search of help, but more so of hope and answers. Sometimes what you’re looking for isn’t where you find it. And more often than not, it finds you. Even the truth, how you see it, isn’t what you expect when seen up close. Most adults, or at least those who have truly matured, will tell you it is how you respond to the revelation that defines the person you become.



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