Sunday, March 21, 2010

Review: Waking Up In The Land of Glitter by Kathy Cano-Murillo

Waking Up In The Land of Glitter
by Kathy Cano-Murillo
2010 Grand Central Publishing
Softcover Edition
327 Pages
Genre: Fiction

4.5 / 5 Stars

Summary (Press Release)
With glue guns, glitter, twigs, or yarn, the ordinary can become extraordinary...especially at La Pachanga.  Owned by Estrella 'Star' Esteban's family, the restaurant has a rep for two things: good food and great art.  La Pachanga beings people together - even when it looks like they couldn't be further apart.

One ill-fated evening, Star jeopardizes her family's business, her relationship with her boyfriend, and her future career.  To redeem herself, she agrees to participate in a national craft competition, teaming up with her best friend Ofelia - a secretly troubled mother whose love for crafting borders on obsession; and local celebrity Chloe Chavez - a determined television personality with more than one skeleton in her professional closet.  If these unlikely allies can set aside their differences, they'll find strength they never knew they had, and learn that friendship, like crafting, is truly an art form.

My Thoughts
I was rather impressed with this novel.  I found it funny, quirky, sweet, and rather inspiring.  It was a beautiful story about love, friendship, and hope, all based around a love for crafting and the phenomenon that seems to be sweeping over our nations.  Although I am not really a crafty person, I found myself inspired to think maybe I could give it a shot before reality actually set in again.

The relationship between the three women is interesting, but I actually found the character development of each woman much more interesting.  The self-discovery process each women went through during the novel was fraught with missteps and problems, but the development of self-esteem, slow as it was, and the discovery of what each of them was capable of in their lives, was utterly fascinating.  I found myself rooting for each one, but at the same time, I was also thinking about my own life as each one went through their own changes, and looking at my own life to see if maybe I wasn't achieving my own potential as well.  I believe it was one of the reasons I began to blog as I felt I wasn't achieving enough in my own reviewing world;  I needed more of an outlet and I needed to achieve something more. I could totally relate to what each of those women was feeling so it felt really personal to me.  Naturally the real development of a true friendship always come with a series of tests, and all of these women have secrets that will test their friendship.  When these secrets burst open one day, will the foundation of their friendship be strong enough to withstand the forces whipping around them or will they go their separate ways?  Sorry folks, you will have to read the book to find out.

By writing from the personal viewpoint of each character, you get to feel what each character is thinking and feeling and I really enjoyed that aspect of this novel.  The transitions between characters were seamless and flowed beautifully.  I especially enjoyed the Spanish influence in this novel and loved learning about the few Spanish cultural traditions that were mentioned.  For those who do not have a background in Spanish, the author does include a glossary of Spanish terms to help the reader.  I am definitely looking forward to future novels from Ms. Cano-Murillo.

For those who are interested in using this novel for their reading groups, the author includes a great Reading Group Guide, in both Spanish and English, for your use.


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