In finely wrought chapters that at times read more like a collection of related short stories than a novel, Joseph (Jump Up Time) presents slices from the life of Ana Rosa just as she is about to turn 13. Through the heroine’s poetry and recollections, readers gain a rare intimate view of life in the Dominican Republic. Ana Rosa dreams of becoming a writer even though no one but the president writes books; she learns to dance the merengue by listening to the rhythms of her beloved ocean; and the love of her older brother, Guario, comforts her through many difficulties. The author’s portraits of Ana Rosa and her family are studies in spare language; the chapters often grow out of one central image–such as the gri gri tree where Ana Rosa keeps watch over her village and gets ideas for her writing–giving the novel the feel of an extended prose poem. The brevity of the chapters showcases Joseph’s gift for metaphoric language (e.g., her description of Ana Rosa’s first crush: “”My dark eyes trailed him like a line of hot soot wherever he went””)….it’s a testimony to the power of Joseph’s writing that the developments readers will empathize with most are those of greatest importance to her winning heroine.
It looks like another interesting read–a great addition to any personal or classroom library! To be entered in the giveaway, just comment on any post on the blog by January 25th. Everyone who comments between January 5th and January 25th will be entered in the drawing. If your name is chosen, we’ll email you ASAP about mailing the book to you.
Don’t forget, we also raffle off a copy of the following month’s featured novel at each book group meeting. So if you’re an Albuquerque local, join us for a chance to win!