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Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
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Bless Me, Ultima (original 1972; edition 1999)

by Rudolfo Anaya

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2,040893,278 (3.65)52
Member:royalsdefence
Title:Bless Me, Ultima
Authors:Rudolfo Anaya
Info:Grand Central Publishing (1999), Paperback, 304 pages
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Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (1972)

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English (88)  Dutch (1)  All languages (89)
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
i read this book for one of my college classes.... at first i just read it because it was a requirement but i got to like the book... i liked how you get to see in what the community believed and their traditons and what they used to do about the things they believed in... at the end i was able to finish the book because i got interested in the story and not because it was a requirement. ( )
  angie.arciba | Aug 9, 2014 |
Book portrays New Mexico culture and religion during a period just after World War Two and is the view of same through the eyes of a six year old boy. The story is violent, mystical and spiritual all at once. I read the book to get a view of the culture in Northern New Mexico; perhaps, it's also the story of the author's life? ( )
  buffalogr | Aug 8, 2014 |
audiobook - Young Antonio lives in New Mexico during WWII. He loves his family, but he is torn between their two lineages - roaming cowboys and settled farmers. He is also torn between his love of and duty to the Catholic church and the magical spirituality of the native pagan religion. He explores both sides as he and his friends prepare for their first communion, while at the same time a local spiritual healer named Ultima has come to stay at his house.

This book's story didn't really speak to me, but I very much appreciated the peek into a culture that I was wholely unfamiliar with. The story itself might appeal more to a young boy closer to Antonio's age (seven or eight). It might have had something to do with the narrator, but I had trouble remembering that Antonio was supposed to be so young. I liked the parts where Antonio was learning about Ultima and exploring his personal faith, but not so much the parts with the death (or the mundane daily activities).

I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had read the book instead of listening to the audio. I had trouble with the names and Spanish words, and I always find it hard to follow along with descriptive passages or fantastical scenes in an audiobook. I recommend the story, but not necessarily the audiobook. (not that there was anything wrong with Ramirez, he was an excellent narrator.) ( )
  norabelle414 | Jul 24, 2014 |
This was a pretty good book. It touched on a lot of really interesting issues. I was, the entire time, wanting to keep reading.

The reasons I listed it as a 3, rather than 4, might be superficial. In theory this book is portraying the thoughts and actions of a 6 (then older) year old boy. Yet the thoughts and actions and words that this 6 year old uses...is just too much for me.

I like the use of a young boy's experience relates some of the cruelness of religion (you know me, anything that makes religion seem bad or unfair, I like). But I felt a little let down that we never knew his choice. Every other sentence in the book (I felt) mentioned the inner struggle for him to choose his mom's wishes, or his dads....and nothing. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
This was a pretty good book. It touched on a lot of really interesting issues. I was, the entire time, wanting to keep reading.

The reasons I listed it as a 3, rather than 4, might be superficial. In theory this book is portraying the thoughts and actions of a 6 (then older) year old boy. Yet the thoughts and actions and words that this 6 year old uses...is just too much for me.

I like the use of a young boy's experience relates some of the cruelness of religion (you know me, anything that makes religion seem bad or unfair, I like). But I felt a little let down that we never knew his choice. Every other sentence in the book (I felt) mentioned the inner struggle for him to choose his mom's wishes, or his dads....and nothing. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rudolfo Anayaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ramirez, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
Con Honor Para Mis Padres
First words
Ultima came to stay with us the summer I was almost seven.
Quotations
And that is what Ultima tried to teach me, that the tragic consequences of life can be overcome by the magical strength that resides in the human heart.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Bless Me, Ultima is about a young boy named Antonio who lives in Guadalupe with his family and an old curandera, Ultima. Antonio was born into a Catholic family. As Antonio grows every day, he learns the ways of good and evil, confussion with religion, the differnce between the Marez side of the family and the Lunas side, and the ways of the river and the earth. Antonio strugles with many friends dieing because of an evil man named Tenorio. Tenorio owns three daughters who are witches. The man seeks revenge for the death of two of his daughters torwards Ultima and Antonio. He calls Ultima the brueja, or witch. This leads to Antonio's confussion with God. "Why hasn't God prevented my friends from dieing? Why did Tenorio det away with killing them? Why are you letting evil get away with out being punished? I have so many questions to ask You, but none are getting answers. Is God still alive, did he even exist?" Antonio wonders.
Cico, one of Antonios friends took him to see the golden carp pass in the river. Cico does not believe in God, but the golden carp as his god. He thinks our God is a jealous god because he does not want us to believe in any other God. Antonio wondered if the golden carp was a god of beauty.
His fathers side, Marez, is all about adventure, the wind, and the llano. The mothers side, Lunas is all about religion, the earth and staying put in one place. Antonio's mom wants him to becone a farmer or a priest, a man of learning. She brings this on Antonio alot. There always seems to be competition between the mom and dad because they are totally two different people. Antonio has a hard time deciding who he wants to be, a Marez or Luna. He finally realizes that he can be both though and learns his destiny that way. As he gets to now Ultima better he learns more of how his future will be.
Antonio goes on a journey with Ultima to help cure his uncle from the curse that one of Tenorio's daughter layed upon him. Antonio had a connection with his uncle and felt everything he felt. He learned the power that Ultima has from the curing of her herbs she uses for medicine. At the end of the story he figures out the connection with Ultima and her owl. The owl is her soul/spirit.
I would recommend this book it makes you think alot and is in depth with many things. The book has many events through each chapter that makes one want to keep reading to find out what happens next!

FROM BACK COVER:

Rudolfo A. Anaya is the winner of the $1,000 Second Annual PREMIO QUINTO SOL national Chicano literary award. Mr. Anaya was born in New Mexico. He attended public schools in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, and was graduated from the University of New Mexico . .

writing his novel, Mr. Anaya has said: "I have been writing for the past ten years. I have written volumes of poems, stories, novels, burned some, saved a few. Out of a suitcase full I have, it seemed that ULTIMA distilled into something worthwhile. Writing is not easy . It is a lonely, and oftentimes unappreciated endeavor. But I had to keep creating, I had to keep trying to organize all the beautiful, chaotic things into some pattern. Writing is never quite learned. I have to rewrite and rewrite each manuscript before I'm satisfied. By the way, my writing is completely self-taught. I have never taken a writing course. It's easy . You just have to sit down and write, write, write, and write . . . hasta que te lleva la madre, y las almorranas."

The illustrations for BLESS ME, ULTIMA are by Dennis Martinez, also a native New Mexican, now residing in Los Angeles, California. He teaches art in the Los Angeles Public Schools.

Cover design : Octavia I. Romano-V.
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Six-year-old Antonio embarks upon a spiritual journey under the watchful guidance of Ultima, a healing woman, that leads him to question his faith and beliefs in family, religion, and other aspects of his Chicano culture.

(summary from another edition)

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