{Book Review} Esperanza Rising

Author: Pam Munoz Ryan

Genre: MG historical fiction
Published: May 1st 2002
Publisher: Blue Sky Press
Pages: 288
Source: Purchased Paperback
Available at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads Summary:

Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico–she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances–Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.

My Rating of this Book – 5 out of 5 Stars

My Review:

When I first startedEsperanza Rising, I wasn’t really sure I would be truly drawn into its pages. The beginning seemed slow and pretty much of it was engrossed in Esperanza’s wealthy life. But in the end, I actually thought this novel was well written. The style and tone draws a connection to the time and events during this period of history. And when the plot turned to the character’s hardships and struggles, I finally became engulfed in the plot.

What I liked was that this novel really focuses on a time period, I feel, is generally overlooked by many history books. Back in my younger days, I never learned much of the lives of the general population living after the Mexican Revolution or during the Great Depression, much less anything about the Mexican farm workers. But through Esperanza, I was able to get a taste of that history and time, and gave new life on a subject I never even considered reflecting on.

In addition to the wonderful history lesson this novel provides, I also loved learning the little Spanish introduced into the text. It was only some basic words, but the way novel applied them really helped me – considering I took three years of German and pretty much forgotten about 75% of it all – relate the language to daily context.

In conclusion, I would recommend reading this to those who love historical fiction or to audiences in middle school or even underclassmen in high school. This probably make a great History – or English – report *hint hint*.