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The Queen of Water by Laura Resau

The Queen of Water

by Laura Resau

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Resau succeeds in depicting so many complex aspects of Virginia's story--conflicting emotions, confused identity, a sort of Stockholm syndrome, and the cultural tensions within Ecuador. It's hard to read at times, but there are moments of humor and light even in the darkest of times. I found the conflict Virginia faces as she tries to find her place in the world after being cut off from her family, raised in a mestizo (upper-class) home, and taught to revile her heritage compelling and heartbreaking. But Virginia is an incredible person--intelligent, ambitious, innovative, hard working, and always hopeful.

Resau explains how she met Maria Virginia Farninango and heard her story in the author's note. She says that despite the heartbreaking and sometimes disturbing nature of Farinango's experience, she told it with "laughter, spunk, and . . . heart-swelling triumph." I think Resau successfully captured those qualities in her narrative.

It's an inspiring book. And it's another one of those books that taught me about something I didn't even know happened (at least not as recently as the 80s!!). I appreciate books like this one that not only tell a good story, but educate me. Overall, I would highly recommend this because of the story alone.

This is not, however, a book for reluctant readers. It felt a little long in places. Even though it didn't feel like space was wasted, it probably could have been a bit tighter. ( )
  EuronerdLibrarian | May 27, 2013 |
This is both an extraordinary story and an extraordinarily well-written one. The book tell the true story of Virginia, who is more or less sold into slavery when she's only seven, and what happens to her over the course of the next ten or so years. This is not a long-ago story, either.

Parts of it are very hard to read, especially if one is easily bruised by gratuitous cruelty. Parts of it are like what one imagines surfing on the back of a dolphin would be like, purely joyful. There are a lot of bittersweet moments in Virginia's young life.

The cultural divide is a large one for me- there's very little that I knew about Ecuador before picking up this book, so in addition to the story as story, I was also picking up fascinating bits of Equador.

Highly recommended. Thanks to Wendy for pushing this.
( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
The fact that this story is based upon the life experiences of Resau's collaborator, María Virginia Farinango makes it all the more poignant and inspiring. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Based on a true story, and told from the protagonist's point of view, The Queen of Water follows a seven-year-old indígena who was taken from her family in the rural Ecuadoran Andes mountains to be a servant in an urban home. Confused, afraid, and alone, Virginia accepts her captors as parents and loves their children. The prejudice of these mestizos, or middle-class natives, speeds the girl's assimilation, though it comes with a price: an inferiority complex that she confronts slowly as she secretly teaches herself to read. Confusion over whether or not her parents gave her away willingly serves the plot well; Virginia's dilemma doesn't fit neatly into formulas about courage and fighting for justice, although eventually both are within her reach. Her mistreatment by the woman of the house, an overweight, selfish dentist, is humiliating, constant, and disturbing; her husband plays her foil—understanding, even loving, until Virginia reaches adolescence—when he tries to molest her. This is a poignant coming-of-age novel that will expose readers to the exploitation of girls around the world whose families grow up in poverty ( )
  EBurggraf | Nov 27, 2012 |
When Virginia was seven, her parents sold her to a well-to-do family as a servant. Treated cruelly, she grows to be a teenager, wishing for me. She receives no pay and is never taken back to see her family. She teaches herself to read and write, and looks for a way to escape. ( )
  pmlyayakkers | Oct 6, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385738978, Hardcover)

An ALA Amelia Bloomer Selection
An ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book

Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta—stupid Indian—by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds.
In this poignant novel based on a true story, acclaimed author Laura Resau has collaborated with María Virginia Farinango to recount one girl's unforgettable journey to self-discovery. Virginia's story will speak to anyone who has ever struggled to find his or her place in the world. It will make you laugh and cry, and ultimately, it will fill you with hope.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:44 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Living in a village in Ecuador, a Quechua Indian girl is sent to work as an indentured servant for an upper class "mestizo" family.

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