“For those without a mother, without a father, without even a dog to make a bother.”
This quote is on the dedication page of Sandra Cisneros new book, HAVE YOU SEEN MARIE?
The crux of the story is about a woman’s search for a cat who goes missing in the aftermath of her mother’s death.
There is so much to love about this book before one even begins reading. From the first page of illustrations, by Ester Hernandez, artista extraordinaire, I was captured by their serenity and vibrancy. (She is in the photo, on the left of my favorite chingona, Sandra Cisneros).
Some of the images in the book reminded me of Japanese woodcuts. Others, vivacious colored pencil drawings. The illustrations perfectly accompany the melodic text and characterize the many people and moods found in the novel.
An overriding sense of grief and loss weave throughout the story. There are touches of humor, but overall the sadness is palpable. I sighed in some sections, teared up in others.The author calls her book a
“fable for grownups,” and for “orphans in midlife.”
But I can see parents reading this to children, older kids reading to younger, and all of them enthralled and touched by the story.
Ms. Cisneros uses imagery, simile and metaphor better than most. Her words put a smile on my face when I read “…his truck backfiring like the Fourth of July, like always.” “…a squirrel flicked her tail like a housewife shaking a dirty dust rag.” “…silver women in their silver years laughed like bells.”
This is a book I will keep for years and no doubt re-read several times. It is worth buying the hardcover book for the beautiful illustrations. Also, do not skip the afterword and acknowledgements. There is a lovely story there too.
I will buy another book and give it to my mother, who lost both of her parents before she was twelve years of age. She continues to feel the loss. I don’t know if it will help her or not, but I do know it will affect her in ways that are different from those who have not gone through this type of grief. I hope that this quote will be true for her:
“There is no getting over death, only learning how to travel alongside it.” Sandra Cisneros
To hear from the author about why she wrote the book, click on this short interview:
You can find HAVE YOU SEEN MARIE? at amazon.com, B & N, or your favorite bookstore. Just so readers know: I have not been given a book in exchange for a review. I just love to post information whenever I read a really good book.