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The Queen of Water by Laura Resau
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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 |
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 |
"She'll do. We'll take her."Suddenly, I understand that I have no say in this. Not a shred of power. The decision has been made... This is happening whether I like it or not.Virginia was born in a large but poor family in an Andean mountain village in Ecuador. Society is divided sharply between the working class indigenas, or native Indian people, and the ruling mestizos, or descendents of Spanish conquerors. At age 7, Virginia is taken to the town of Kuna Yaku to be a servant to a mestizo family. She is promised a monthly salary, the opportunity to attend school, and to return home to visit her family. In reality, Virginia becomes a slave to the family, working long hours cooking, cleaning and caring for the babies, while sleeping on the floor, wearing castoffs, and not being allowed to use the same dishes as the family. All talk of salary, school and visits disappears immediately. She has no idea how to escape, as she has traveled hours to get to the town, and has no friends or relatives nearby to help. For eight years, she endures her enslavement, cruelty and beatings, but she teaches herself to read and discovers learning, as well as the occasional kindness of others. She is smart, resourceful, and driven to make something better of her life, even though she's been told over and over that no one wants her, even her own family. A moving and heartbreaking story of courage and overcoming odds at every turn. Based on the author's life, this will stay with you long after you've finished. Beautifully written, for 7th grade and up. ( )
  KarenBall | Sep 23, 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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