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Bless Me, Ultima

Region: North America, U.S., New Mexico

Author: Rudolfo Anaya

Original Language: English

Genre: Magic Realism

Descriptors: currandera; growing up; healer; magic; mysticism; religion  

Age: 12-18 years old


One of Rudolfo Anaya’s most popular books Bless Me, Ultima is a story that encompasses the struggle of growing up and learning about the harsh realities of the world. Antonio Marez is a six year old boy living in a small farming town in New Mexico during the 1940’s. His family invites a curandera, a healer woman, named Ultima to live out her final days with them. Ultima teaches Antonio about the connection human’s have to the earth, the herbs, and animals. Soon enough Antonio accompanies Ultima to many villages to heal people who are sick or cursed by evil. As time passes, Antonio learns secrets about his family and religion that leave him off balanced. Antonio and Ultima must protect one another from those that wish to hurt them, or take away their gift to heal. Anaya’s book has been quite controversial over the years as it discusses very difficult topics such as death, violence, prostitution, magic, and profanity. However, the book is a right of passage to children in New Mexico as it will cross through their hands at one time or another. Because of the difficult topics, library staff and teachers should approach the book ready to create conversations with their students. The book is most appropriate for ages 12 to 18, as it is also still a chapter book of more than two-hundred pages. To conclude, the book is a beautiful representation of life in New Mexico, and the difficulties that come with growing into adulthood. Readers can enjoy this book in print, audiobook, and eBook.

More About This Book

Reviewed: print book by Grand Central Publishing (2008). ISBN 9781439501382. 262 p.

Reviewed by: Raquel Martinez 

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