Bless Me, Ultima is hands-down my new favorite book. It’s one of those that takes so long to fully process that its message and morals make an ever-lasting impression. I felt such difficulty writing this review that I can’t say I’m proud of it. (Why you may find it less insightful – sorry!) It’s just the kind of story that I feel so deeply connected to I have to remind myself that locking it in an unnecessarily secure safe, flushing the key down the drain, and never telling anybody about its amazing contents so that I can keep this feeling all to myself is insane.
For starters, its a story of the human condition that transcends all other tales of triumph, loss, suffering, and culture. Anaya blends Chicano culture so seamlessly that by reading it, I felt far more aware of the significance of so many of my friends’ diverse backgrounds. It struck a chord with me that I haven’t felt plucked since I first started my four months in the Czech Republic, not even a year ago.
The novel follows a young boy of immigrants in southwest America. His character is hopelessly naive and simultaneously mature beyond his years. He finds himself partnered with a woman who can only be truly described by her name: Ultima. Her mysticism and wisdom are striking and moving and timelessly enjoyable; the world they live in only reinforces these qualities. While the setting is clearly a time long past, the lawlessness of this era and the community it bred draw so many important similarities with parts of our country today. It draws attention to the struggles of ESL Americans and the attitudes (both good and bad) that different portions of our population hold toward one another.
[unashamed plug] If this book, or any of the other ones I’ve reviewed have sparked your urge to buy a new read, come see what I have in my shop! I always appreciate your support and there are some extra hollyandoates exclusive goodies included.