Big Angel, the patriarch of the De La Cruz family, while burying his mother. knows that his death will quickly follow as he is in the last stages of terminal cancer. He decides to throw a party for the family the day after his mother’s funeral. It has been a long time since I have read a book that contained so many amazing characters. Every family member has their own story and they are not just fluff used to flesh out the narrative. The main character of this cast is his half brother known as Little Angel who has not lived with the De La Cruz family and is a bit of an outsider. This book is full of conversations, anecdotes, and fights between all the characters and there is a large dose of humour delivered and you will probably find yourself with a smile on you face for most of this book. Urrea does a wonderful job with descriptive writing and provides a wonderful portrayal of a vibrant, raucous party that always seems on the verge of spiralling into anarchy. I have never been to a Mexican birthday party but after reading this book I feel like I have. Little Angel, the half brother lives in the s
tates and provides the doorway for the topics such as cultural clashes and immigration, border crossings. All the issues that are designed to push the right buttons. I loved this book and was set to give it five stars but there is a plot point that does not quite work and comes close to turning a brilliant ending into a bit of a farce.. Apart from this issue, a wonderful book. 4 Stars.
Luis Alberto Urrea is another author I have never read before. He is a prolific writer and this novel is his Thirteenth. He is the author of The Hummingbird's Daughter, The Devil's Highway and Into the Beautiful North. As soon as the ToB is over, I am going to try and read a few more of his books. Having parents of different cultures, his father is Mexican and his mother is American, he has used the themes of immigration and borders in some of his other books.