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Maya's Notebook (2011)

by Isabel Allende

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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9486217,219 (3.64)26
After the death of her beloved grandfather, nineteen-year-old Maya Vidal, turning to drugs, alcohol, and petty crimes, becomes trapped in a war between assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol, until her grandmother helps her escape to a remote island off the coast of Chile where she tries to make sense of her life.… (more)
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» See also 26 mentions

English (48)  Spanish (10)  Dutch (3)  German (1)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
This book was difficult to read at times when Maya describes the depths to which her addition lead her. Although there were some rather rough passages, I was engaged through-out the novel and enjoyed the unfolding of the different relations ships which she came from and the new ones she established while on her path. ( )
  AstridG | Nov 11, 2021 |
Adorei! Não estava à espera de gostar tanto deste livro mas fui surpreendida pela positiva. O excerto na contracapa atraiu a minha atenção e 'O Caderno de Maya' teve lugar garantido na pilha de livros que levei da biblioteca.
Achei as personagens muito bem construídas e 'reais' e nota-se o interesse e as origens sul-americanas da autora na descrição do povo de Chiloé e nas tradições da ilha chilena. Para mim este livro foi uma mistura de thriller, aventura, auto-descoberta e romance. O facto de ser escrito na primeira pessoa faz com que o leitor se identifique de certo modo com Maya e que queira saber o que lhe acontece no final. Também à medida que ia lendo fui aprendendo mais sobre aspetos difíceis como o mundo da toxicodependência, da corrupção e escravidão e dos abusos sexuais que afetam um grande número de pessoas.
'O Caderno de Maya' tirou-me da minha zona de conforto e fez-me viajar. Uma leitura excelente! ( )
  _Marcia_94_ | Sep 21, 2021 |
There are very difficult episodes as Maya describes the depths to which she fell. In spite of that, I liked the book. I thought Allende did a good job crafting a story that draws you in and keeps you invested. ( )
  mullinstreetzoo | Feb 12, 2021 |
I know I cheated with this one; I read it in English, when I really should have tried it in Spanish. It's just I usually read on the train and it's really frustrating to only get through 10 pages per journey. Plus, Maya's Notebook, written from the perspective of a nineteen-year-old American girl, is the kind of thing that would "really" be written in English anyway, at least if it were real and not a novel by Isabel Allende. Which it obviously isn't, with a tone less lyrical but otherwise similar to Allende's other novels; not really the style an American teenager would go for in their personal journal. So, I don't know which language would have been better, but I did read it in English, so there we are.

Overall I liked this novel, but I agree with some of the criticisms others gave made of it — the plot is chaotic, unbelievable. The novel begins when Maya has to flee powerful enemies in the United States and ends up hiding out on an isolated island of Chiloé with an old friend of her grandma's. From that point on, there are two timelines — Maya writes about her experiences in Chiloé, and intersperses them with sections on her life in the US, all the events that culminated in her fleeing.

Dividing the book into quarters, they all have different vibes, and there are different things to say about them. The first quarter, like those of a lot of Allende books, is pretty slow. In the second, things get pretty intense and exciting, aside from the Chiloé parts which continue not to be. In the third quarter, the US timeline gets seriously depressing, which Allende counterbalances (or tries to) by introducing a romance subplot in Chiloé, but this doesn't work that well. Then in the last quarter, everything is chaotic and so many different scattered subplots get resolved and then there are some random tangents that don't seem to advance any subplots and it's all a mess. I suppose it did resolve anything (I can't think of any open ends, although I'm not really the best at that anyway)… but it was just very messy. Suddenly revealing that Manuel Arias was Maya's real grandfather, not Felipe Vidal, was completely out of the blue – I don't believe this had been hinted at, or set up in any real way. The extended flashback to Maya's aborted stay in Denmark with her mother also seemed out-of-place, considering this mother barely figured into the story at all. Things like that gave it its chaotic feel.

In some ways I feel like this novel tried to cover too much. Or maybe not so much that, but it didn't blend everything it was trying to discuss very well. Primarily, it's about an American teenager who felt lost after her (step-)grandfather's death, got mixed up in drugs and eventually organised crime, and has to go into hiding and recover. The subplot about Manuel being persecuted by the Pinochet regime felt tacked on. Mostly because that entire subplot, minus Manuel having some nightmares that I didn't necessarily expect to be explained – thinking "trauma from the dictatorship" explained it enough – happened in the last quarter of the book. It just didn't feel that well incorporated.

The other thing about this novel is that parts of it are very brutal. It's graphic in its depictions of drug-related violence and addiction, and the way Pinochet's regime tortured people, but there's also a very brutal rape scene at one point (although on that note, kudos to Allende for depicting it purely as violence without trying to make it "sexy" or "scintillating" at all). So if you have a low tolerance for these kinds of scenes or topics, this is not a great book for you.

In retrospect, another thing this book did well was describing some of the social problems of small-town southern Chile – the legacy of the dictatorship, lack of employment, domestic violence, molestation even. But it did this while retaining a real affection for the society and people it talked about. (Well I mean, most of the people…) It was sort of hard to notice this while I was reading because the parts of the book set in the US were always more action-packed than the parts set in Chile, so they captured more of my attention, but that element is there.

Overall I liked it, and it's getting three stars, but man it was chaotic. (Nov 2013) ( )
  Jayeless | May 27, 2020 |
Soy Maya Vidal, diecinueve años, sexo femenino, soltera, sin un enamorado, por falta de oportunidades y no por quisquillosa, nacida en Berkeley, California, pasaporte estadounidense, temporalmente refugiada en una isla al sur del mundo. Me pusieron Maya porque a mi Nini le atrae la India y a mis padres no se les ocurrió otro nombre, aunque tuvieron nueve meses para pensarlo. En hindi, maya significa “hechizo, ilusión, sueño”, nada que ver con mi carácter. Atila me calzaría mejor, porque donde pongo el pie no sale más pasto. Mi historia comienza en Chile con mi abuela, mi Nini, mucho antes de que yo naciera, porque si ella no hubiera emigrado, no se habría enamorado de mi Popo ni se habría instalado en California, mi padre no habría conocido a mi madre y yo no sería yo, sino una joven chilena muy diferente.
  mirthasotelo | Mar 23, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
The prioritising of story over voice suggests that it's not the aim of Maya's Notebook to plunge the reader into the grim existence of a real-life Maya; this is a tale of revelations and resolutions, and the plot is more answerable to its own turns than to the brutal possibilities of reality. Despite the observations about the number of young people lost to street violence, crime and slavery, or because of them, the driving force of this novel is ultimately resilience – the power of love and acceptance to face down terrible things.
added by ozzer | editThe Guardian, Emily Perkins (May 30, 2013)
 

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isabel Allendeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Degenaar, RikkieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juan, AnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Liverani ElenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
-Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day"
Dedication
A los adolescentes de mi tribu: Alejandro, Andrea, Nicole, Sabrina, Aristotelis y Achilleas
For the teenagers of my tribe:
Alejandro, Andrea, Nicole, Sabrina, Aristotelis, and Achilleas
First words
A week ago my grandmother gave me a dry-eyed hug at the San Francisco airport and told me again that if I valued my life at all, I should not get in touch with anyone I knew until we could be sure my enemies were no longer looking for me.
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After the death of her beloved grandfather, nineteen-year-old Maya Vidal, turning to drugs, alcohol, and petty crimes, becomes trapped in a war between assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol, until her grandmother helps her escape to a remote island off the coast of Chile where she tries to make sense of her life.

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