3 out of 4 stars
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Mi Sangre by Dr. Manuel Almendarez is a historical fiction book based on life in Mexico in the late 19th century and the early 20th century. It gives a detailed sketch of the migration to Mexico. It tells of the struggle of a people seeking ways to survive. Mi Sangre is both a fictional and historical book in one. I understood a lot of history that was previously sketchy to me in the book.
The book talked about the Mexican political succession and how the Haciendas came to be. The Haciendas were a group of wealthy landowners who employed peasants to work for them. It was a sort of legalized slavery, as the peasants were most often in debt to them and had to work to pay off their debts, which they never did. However, something happened along the line that threatened the Haciendas. They would do anything to keep their hallowed places as slave masters. Dramatic events with generational impacts ensue.
Mi Sangre was a book I enjoyed to a large extent. It was exciting and detailed. Dr. Manuel described each character as though he knew them in person. He also told events like he was present there. This was fascinating and exciting, as it made the book come alive. If I didn't read the author's bio, I would have thought that he lived in the era in which the book's plot was set.
Intertwining seemingly unrelated events in the story showed brilliance on the author's part. At a point, I thought that Panchitas's birth story was unnecessary in the book. Never in my wildest imagination did I think she would connect to Benjamin. It was surprising, as there was no hint of any connection between them.
Another attribute of the book that I found commendable was the use of pictures on almost every page. The descriptions beneath them also helped in my visual understanding of specific points in the book. Although the descriptions stopped at some point, the pictures still helped to a certain degree.
I earlier mentioned that I enjoyed the book to a large extent. There were two reasons for this statement. First, I had an issue with the way the author used Spanish sentences in the book. Though I would have loved some explanations, so I don't always have to pause to check the translations, he already gave a caveat that I understood. However, I would have preferred the foreign words to come in italics. I dabbled into them many times without knowing; I had to backtrack to see that the sentences were Spanish. This affected my reading flow, as I had to backtrack many times than I could count.
Secondly, the errors were so many that they detracted from the book's flow. I had to stop taking note of the errors after a while, as they distracted my attention a lot. This book could use another round of professional editing to fix these errors.
Looking at the book in perspective, I will rate it 3 out of 4 stars. If you're interested in the migration history of Mexicans, this book will provide most of the information you need. Anyone that finds narratives on legalized slavery offensive can take a pass.
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