This book normally would not be one I would review for this blog. While the main character is a boxer and there is a boxing match in the story, the book does not focus on the sport of boxing. However, this story about a boxer trying to find his identity was a very captivating story. It held my attention so well I read the book instead of watching baseball! Therefore, I want to share this review with everyone. This book was originally published in 1992 and has been re-released in electronic format this summer. While I am writing a shorter review than usual and not following the same format, nonetheless it was an excellent read.
"Alburquerque" by Rudolfo Anaya
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
This story of Abran Gonzalez, a former Gold Gloves boxer, who learns that he was adopted and meets his birth mother on her death bed is a fascinating account of his journey to find his true identity. Not only does Abran see his mother before she passes away, he becomes involved in a tangled web of politics and urban development that ensnares many people, including his girlfriend, his best friend and running partner and family members from both his biological and adopted families.
The story itself, while complicated and involving many characters, was one that will captivate the reader with the vivid description of New Mexican culture and landscape as well as the many roads Abran will take in order to find out his biological father and his true calling. He makes a deal with a local developer and politician to find this answer and even has to climb back in the boxing ring one last time to fulfill his part of the deal. However, this book is not about that fight or boxing - it is a book about the power of family in this culture and what people will do for love and for family.
The characters are well developed and likable, especially Abran, his girlfriend Lucinda and his adopted mother Sara. Each character, these and others, are well described and their roles well defined through Anaya's writing. The reader will be caught up in the many different emotions and paths Abran endures before he finally realizes what kind of man he will become. This book is one that a reader who enjoys a tale of family and self-realization will enjoy immensely.
I wish to thank Open Road Media for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.