Friday, May 8, 2009

Review: The World in Half by Cristina Henriquez

Book Info:
The World in Half by Cristina Henriquez
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (April 2, 2009)
ISBN-13: 9781594488559
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5

Miraflores has never known her father, and until now, she's never thought that he wanted to know her. She's long been aware that her mother had an affair with him while she was stationed with her then husband in Panama, and she's always assumed that her pregnant mother came back to the United States alone with his consent. But when Miraflores returns to the Chicago suburb where she grew up, to care for her mother at a time of illness, she discovers that her mother and father had a greater love than she ever thought possible, and that her father had wanted her more than she could have ever imagined.

In secret, Miraflores plots a trip to Panama, in search of the man whose love she hopes can heal her mother and whose presence she believes can help her find the pieces of her own identity that she thought were irretrievably lost. What she finds is unexpected, exhilarating, and holds the power to change the course of her life completely. In gorgeous, shimmering prose, Cristina Henriquez delivers a triumphant and heartbreaking first novel: the story of a young woman reconciling an existence between two cultures and confronting a life of hardship with an endless capacity to learn, love, and forgive.

I was originally drawn to The World in Half by its cover. I love the simplicity of it and the vibrant colors. Inside, I found a treasure. When I first started reading, I had planned on just reading a chapter or two and then cleaning house. Before I knew it, I was 60 pages in and couldn't put it down. Instead of cleaning, I spent my entire day off on the couch devouring this book.

On the surface, this is a familiar story of a young woman searching for the father she never knew. This story is so much more, though. Miraflores is not only trying to find a missing part of her life, but of her mother's too. Her search leads her to experience a culture that is foreign to her, but also a part of who she is.

Henriquez's writing is beautiful, lyrical and flows wonderfully. Sometimes a book seems bogged down by flowery writing, and that is never the case in The World in Half. The descriptions are almost poetic and add so much to the story without ever overwhelming it. The characters are all wonderfully developed and feel like friends by the end of the book.

I was completely absorbed in this book right from the start and can't wait to read more from Cristina Henriquez. She has also written a short story collection, Come Together, Fall Apart, and this is now on my must read list. 4.5 stars
Other reviews:


Meghan said...

Very glad to read this review! I have this on my review pile and I really need to get to it soon.

Sandy Nawrot said...

The cover would have hooked me too. Obviously, with a 4.5 star rating, this one stood out from the other books with a similar premise!

Cindy said...

The cover does look great, and it sounds like a good a book. Great review :)

Teddy Rose said...

Wonderful review Melissa! Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. I added it to my TBR.

Tara said...

I thought this was wonderful, too. I was completely blown away and surprised since I had no idea what to expect from this author.

Becca said...

This sounds like a great book! I had not heard of it, but it is going on my TBR list. You wrote a fantastic review.

Zibilee said...

I loved this book as well and thought the author did a great job with it. Glad you liked it too!

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

Add my voice to the "I loved this book" chorus. I haven't yet posted my review ...

The writing is beautiful, and, housecleaning can wait! :)