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Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Bless Me, Ultima (original 1972; edition 1999)

by Rudolfo Anaya

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2,017None3,315 (3.64)50
Title:Bless Me, Ultima
Authors:Rudolfo Anaya
Info:Warner Books (1999), Edition: 0025-Anniversary, Paperback, 290 pages
Collections:Read Fiction

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Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (1972)


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Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
A boy's coming of age with a spiritual bent. Touching, suspenseful, moments of laughter and joy. This is the second time I've read it. I listened to it this time and really enjoyed it. Great reader! ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
Enjoyable, but did not engage me as much as I would have liked. For more see http://booksandmiscellany.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/two-coming-of-age-novels/. ( )
  sbsolter | Feb 6, 2014 |
I had never heard of this until YASync had it featured as a free download last summer. It is an interesting and engaging tale of a young Hispanic boy struggling with religion and superstition as death seems to surround him. I did have trouble with the lines that were in Spanish as I was listening to it and not reading it, and there was not translation. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Jan 17, 2014 |
A young boy in 1960's New Mexico struggles to find his faith and place in the world despite the dreams others have for his destiny. ( )
  poetreegirl | Oct 26, 2013 |
Antonio is a young Mexican American boy living with his family in New Mexico. At the beginning of the novel the local healer, Ultima, moves in with his family. Ultima was the midwife who helped bring Antonio into the world and he feels particularly close to her. He is the youngest child in his family and as he grows up under the watchful eyes of his parents and Ultima he must learn what it means to truly lose your innocence. Despite their love and protection he bears witness to strife and violence in the community.

The novel reminds me of many other American coming-of-age novels, especially Cold Sassy Tree. Bless Me, Ultima has a much more serious tone, but it shares many similarities of a young boy growing up in a tight-knit community. It consists of a string of connected events, more like a short story collection in some ways than a novel.

It is set in the 1940s following World War II and Antonio sees the effects of PTSD first hand. He witnesses multiple deaths throughout the book, but none of them are gratuitous. The book touches on many issues that adolescents struggle with, like the division between the life your parents want for you and the life you want. It looks at the role of the healer in Mexican culture, the question of religion and the way a community reacts to tragedy.

BOTTOM LINE: A coming-of-age gem and an important piece of Chicano literature.

“Understanding comes with life,” he answered, “as a man grows he sees life and death, he is happy and sad, he works, plays, meets people—sometimes it takes a lifetime to acquire understanding, because in the end understanding simply means having a sympathy for people.”

“I made strength from everything that had happened to me, so that in the end even the final tragedy could not defeat me. 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.” ( )
1 vote bookworm12 | Sep 17, 2013 |
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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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Con Honor Para Mis Padres
First words
Ultima came to stay with us the summer I was almost seven.
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!
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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.

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