Esperanza’s Box of Saints – María Amparo Escandón (Reading challenge 2016, A book written in 3rd person narration)

Esperanza

(Previous title – “Santitos” Polish title translates into “Esperanza and her saints”)

Meet Esperanza, a young widow, who has just lost her child, Blanca. Esperanza is a humble, deeply believing woman, living with her best friend and her daughter. When Blanca dies, Esperanza’s world falls apart. As always, she takes comfort with her faith and her saints. During Blanca’s funeral, one of the saints tells Esperanza that Blanca is not dead and that she has to find her. Thus Esperanza embarks on her journey, which is full of surprises, but which is in reality a journey towards accepting a loss of a loved one.

I picked this one up in library because of its bright cover and because of the title. Description mentioned a trip and since I’m a sucker for everything that happens “on the road,” I borrowed it. As I suspected – judging on the pink cover – it was a light reading. Yes, it’s quite engaging, and with a deeper touch. It tells about small, but important things that matter, but we tend to forget about. About someone with strong morals, who was willing to bend them for a loved one. About how we forget what’s important. Yes, it has it all. Still, it’s told in a humorous way, which made it a rather undemanding, but quite well written novel.

Esperanza is not a complicated character. Her motive is the same from the beginning till the end. The plot of the whole book is totally implausible, but once you get used to the fact that practically everything can happen, and weird coincidences are pretty normal, you’ll enjoy it. For me, it was interesting to find out what more can happen and in what bizarre way Esperanza will get out of her next problem. Plus, I got to follow her from a small, poor village in Mexico, to the dark alleys of Los Angeles.

Recently, I’ve considered myself rather a cynic towards everything religious, so I was afraid this book would get on my nerves because of the “God theme.” It didn’t. Instead, I found it amusing, cute and sweet. The only thing that did get on my nerves, was that every man that Esperanza met on her way, seemed to fall in love with her. But, as I said, the plot was totally implausible, so I got over it.

One more thing that I enjoyed was the threat with the priest. The book begins with Esperanza’s confession to her trusted priest. The confessions continue practically throughout the whole book, and they are always followed by the priest’s prayers and thoughts about Esperanza. Maybe it doesn’t move the plot forward too much, but it’s a nice touch, as different points of view usually are.

Generally, despite talking about death of a very young girl, this novel is a really optimistic one. It has a lot of humor and simplicity to it. It made me smile on a lot of occasions. Finally, and probably most importantly, it’s full of hope. After all, the protagonist’s name is Esperanza (Spanish word for “hope).

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