A few months ago, friends and strangers recommended Bless Me, Ultima. I decided to read it after someone, with reading tastes very similar to mine, said that the novel was “an awesome read.”
I read it… then I met with the person who told me the book was “awesome” to let him know that I thought his assessment had been a bit much.
He was confused, so I clarified. “The language is so repetitive, straight up tiresome at times. I found it interesting—and was disgusted by the ignorance and hatred eating at the heart of some characters—but I’m surprised you thought it was awesome.”
He shook his head. “I said that it should have been an awesome read. But the repetitions, the purple prose, the unrealistic language, and a few other things kept me from enjoying a story that had a lot of potential.”
“Oh, okay,” I said. Yeah, I felt a little silly.
We discussed the book for a while, and said a thing or three about how we hoped for more from the movie.
I’ve yet to watch the movie…
On a similar note, I contacted several of the people who recommended Bless Me, Ultima, and do you know what I discovered? Not one of them had actually read the book before they told me that I would love it! They concluded that I would like it because there is an old curandera in the story. Hey, Magaly likes stories with Witches in them, so she would probably go nuts over this one. Um… no, not really.
This quote illustrates some of the “ignorance and hatred” I mentioned above:
“‘They were gathering cottonwood branches and weaving a coffin. That proves she was a bruja [witch]!’
‘Yes… and tonight they will gather around the dead body and pray from their Black Book…’
‘They will burn sulfur instead of holy incense. They will sing and dance around her coffin, pulling at their hair and flesh. They will slay a rooster and spread his blood on their dead sister. Mark my word, when the Trementina bruja [turpentine witch] is brought in to church it will be in a basket woven of cottonwood branches, and her body will be smeared with blood—’”
So it would be fair to say that I didn’t feel particularly blessed after reading the novel.
The experience left me feeling emotions very similar to those that brewed in my heart after visiting the Salem Witch Museum. To me, witchery is about embracing life’s mysteries and rejoicing in Nature. There were some nice things about my latest trip to Salem—most of them revolved around the fact that my Piano Man and I got to spend a lot of time together and do some exploring—but when it comes to witchy history, well… Salem was a bit of a disappointment…
Here is a snapshot of my visit to the Salem Witch Museum for the Artful Readers Club:
I’ll write a post about my trip some time later…
…after emotions settle enough to let objectivity rise to the top.
Until then, read on, my Wicked Luvs…