Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Audiobook Review: Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Read by Trini Alvarado
Duration: 4 hours 43 minutes
Esperanza Ortega possesses all the treasures a young girl could want: fancy dresses; a beautiful home filled with servants in the bountiful region of Aguascalientes, Mexico; and the promise of one day rising to Mama’s position and presiding over all of El Rancho de las Rosas.

But a sudden tragedy shatters that dream, forcing Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp.There they confront the challenges of hard work, acceptance by their own people, and economic difficulties brought on by the Great Depression. When Mama falls ill from Valley Fever and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must relinquish her hold on the past and learn to embrace a future ripe with the riches of family and community.

My Thoughts: What can I say about this book? I loved it! I've seen this book around for a few years now but I never felt the need to pick it up. I'm not sure what compelled me to read it, but I am so glad that I did! It was a wonderful book!

This is the story of a young girl who went from riches to being poor. Esperanza was a brat at the beginning, which made sense since she was raised to believe that she was only good enough to give orders. The way she talked down to people and her shock and embarrassment in having to do things, such as sweep, could have made me roll my eyes. Instead, I found myself liking Esperanza. Like her name, I had hope for her and sure enough, she did not disappoint. Esperanza showed a tremendous growth in the story. Not only did she suck up to her new life, but she also became responsible in taking care of her mother. I felt very proud of her. 

Without revealing too much, this book really made me cry. It was not a sad cry, but a happy cry. One of the characters did something for Esperanza and her mother that just made me do an ugly cry as I listened to the story. I haven't read a book in a long time that has gotten this kind of reaction from me. I have a colleague who reads this book to her class; I have no idea how she is able to keep a strong face during the tear-jerking scene. 

The narrator of this book was fantastic. Trini Alvarado really captured all of the characters's voices and brought the story to life. I especially loved it when she sang "Las mananitas" at the beginning and end of the book. It warmed my heart and brought a huge smile to my face. Trini really made the book extra special to me.

Overall, this was a wonderful book! I loved Esperanza's character growth and I was not expecting to cry like I did. This book now holds a special place in my heart. I rate it: 

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