Jane Eyre

Into the Beautiful North

by Luis Alberto Urrea

Overview: Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in the remote Mexican village of Tres Camarones and dreams about her father, who left for America years ago. Recently, it has dawned on Nayeli that he isn't the only man who has abandoned Tres Camarones. In fact, there are almost no men remaining - they've all gone north. This has also been noticed by a group of particularly nasty drug dealers, who, seeing an easy opportunity, plan to take over the town." But at a showing of the movie The Magnificent Seven at the village's decrepit theater, Nayeli has a vision: she will go north and recruit a group of men to return to the village. She will bring back her own "Siete Magnificos" to protect - and repopulate - her home. She and her friends head out for America, gathering a wild group of allies for a journey into the strange and beautiful land of their dreams and fears, the mythical place into which their fathers vanished, Their destination: a small town in Illinois, where Nayeli hopes to discover her father, her warriors, and - if she's lucky - her destiny.

Judy Stanton (09/18/14): This book was chosen for Atlanta's BIG READ and events were held in conjunction with the Atlanta History Center, including the author speaking at the Roswell library! With this book, and many others, I have found that learning more about the background of the writing of the book, how much of it is based on reality, really adds to the appreciation of what the book is trying to accomplish. Into the Beautiful North is about a small town in Mexico which has lost most of its men to the US, leaving the women without defense against the criminal elements. A young girl goes with a strange cadre of friends on a quest to bring back Mexican men to their small town. The story of their journey through Mexico, crossing the border, Nayeli trying to find her father in Kankakee, Illinois, and the unusual cross-section of people they meet makes for an interesting read. 3+
Rating: ***+

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