Maya’s Notebook is a startling novel of suspense from New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende.
This contemporary coming-of-age story centers upon Maya Vidal, a remarkable teenager abandoned by her parents. Maya grew up in a rambling old house in Berkeley with her grandmother Nini, whose formidable strength helped her build a new life after emigrating from Chile in 1973 with a young son, and her grandfather Popo, a gentle African-American astronomer.
When Popo dies, Maya goes off the rails. Along with a circle of girlfriends known as "the vampires," she turns to drugs, alcohol, and petty crime--a downward spiral that eventually leads to Las Vegas and a dangerous underworld, with Maya caught between warring forces: a gang of assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol.
Her one chance for survival is Nini, who helps her escape to a remote island off the coast of Chile. In the care of her grandmother’s old friend, Manuel Arias, and surrounded by strange new acquaintances, Maya begins to record her story in her notebook, as she tries to make sense of her past and unravel the mysteries of her family and her own life.
Allende (The House of the Spirits) moves away from her usual magical realist historical fiction into a contemporary setting, and the result is a chaotic hodgepodge. The story, told through 19-year-old Maya Vidal s journals, alternates between Maya s dismal past and uncertain present, which finds her in hiding on an isolated island off Chile s coast, where her grandmother, Nidia, has taken her. Maya s diary relates a journey into self-destruction that begins, after her beloved step-grandfather Popi s death, with dangerous forays into sex, drugs, and delinquency, but ends up in a darkly cartoonish crime caper, as she becomes involved with gangsters in Las Vegas. Maya describes her present surroundings, meanwhile, with a bland detachment that would be more believable coming from an anthropologist than a teenager. Allende s trademark passion for Chile is as strong as ever, and her clever writing lends buoyancy to the narrative s deadweight, but this novel is unlikely to entrance fans old or new.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Publishers’ Weekly review is way off. The book is a magnificent story of life, of Chiloe, of life in the present. I’ve stayed in the same places. It is a great read.
Great book! Another colorful, descriptive, surprising book from Allende.
I loved it
Especially since Isabel Allende is my favorite latina writer :)