Search This Blog

Pink Boots and a Machete: Mireya Mayor

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
When I was a little kid I always dreamed of being a great Explorer.  Mireya Mayor actually lives that dream!  Her first novel demonstrates to the reader how an NFL cheerleader rises to the level of National Geographic Explorer. 

The novel opens with Mireya describing her family's background.  From her mother's difficult escape from Cuba (eviction, really) to Mireya's fascination with all things lizard, this book will pull the reader in from the start.  The book quickly moved to a death-defying experience that will leave the reader wondering what the point of exploring is when it is so dangerous.  Mireya answers this question rapidly and without even a hint of hesitation.  To be an explorer is an amazing experience, to see what almost no one has seen before and go where no one has gone before, and to experience all of the world's wonders is a gift that should be treasured. 

I don't feel as if I would do the book justice if I attempted to describe all of Mireya's experiences and problems in Guyana, Africa, and Madagascar.  The feelings of desperation, euphoria, and calm are pervasive throughout the book.  When Mireya stands on the edge of Kaieteur Waterfall and knows that she is seeing an amazingly beautiful work of nature is indescribable.  Luckily, the reader can imagine some of these events in the pictures included with the book.  Mireya's love of lemurs and gorillas are a fun part of the book, but the reader feels sadness when Mireya finds cut-off gorilla hands and feet (sold to tourists).   In the same way, the elation Mireya feels as she discovers a previously undiscovered lemur brings the same happiness to the reader.  In just a few hundred pages, Mireya manages to tell her life story with many fun facts and details.  I loved the ending and would recommend this book to anyone, it was easily that good.