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on Aug. 12, 2012 :
This book was hard to put down! Bridget Hoida has put together an excellent satire of the L.A. life we all see on the faux reality TV shows while expertly working through some very serious themes. Magdalena de la Cruz, tormented by the loss of her brother, seemingly finds every possible way one can deal with such horrific pain without actually dealing with it. A young woman built of opposites, the reader can't help but feel Magdalena's anguish as she increasingly builds incongruities into both her inward and outward self and pushes away those who care about her.
Ms. Hoida's descriptions are magnificent. We have the agricultural Central Valley of Califorina, which does not seem to appear frequently in literature, described in stunning detail. The long drive up Interstate 5... insane valley heat... citrus groves... irrigation canals... vineyards. Then we have the big city 'high life' - expensive cars, clothes that cost as much as a 'regular' car, people made of plastic, the world-famous freeway traffic, shopping on Rodeo Drive. These opposing forces are all parts of Magdalena's experience which she must weave together into a life without destroying her real self in the process. People and actions are presented equally well and you will certainly develop some vivid pictures in your mind as you make your way through this slice of Magdalena's life.
You will find yourself simultaneously rooting for and despising Magdalena as you fear the worst in this wonderfully engaging read. I highly recommend it!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Aug. 10, 2012 :
From the very beginning to the very end, this book had me eagerly guessing about what would happen next and I often guessed wrong, which is part of what I love about this book.
On one hand, I feel as though I have nothing in common with Magdalena, the main character of the book and the one who talks to you, the reader, directly, and holds your hand as you experience her wild, self-destructive, never-a-dull-moment journey. On the other hand, Magdalena reminds me of the part of me, and everyone, that you hope for your own sake never wins out against the rational, take-a-deep-breath-before-you-decide-what-to-do part of yourself.
The book is very entertaining and cleverly written, with so many specific references about California and life in general you have to keep reminding yourself it's fiction.
I found myself stealing time away from my kids and husband to read just a few more pages of this book. Highly recommend!
(reviewed the day of purchase)