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Review: The Iguana Tree

March 27, 2012

Héctor wants a better life for his wife, Lilia, and their baby and that means making a dangerous crossing into the United States.  He is careful and makes sure to hire a skilled coyote – someone who specializes in smuggling people across the border.  Once he meets up with his coyote, Héctor is frightened, but determined, and befriends Miguel, who is being smuggled in with him.  Miguel convinces Héctor to join him in South Carolina where Héctor is able to find a job working for a kind man, even though he’s an illegal immigrant.  He plans to save to bring his family to join him.

In the meantime, Lilia’s grandmother passes away and Lilia decides she should join her husband in South Carolina immediately.  Against Héctor’s advice, she contacts an old friend to help her with the crossing and things don’t go the way she plans.

It’s hard to say too much about The Iguana Tree, by Michel Stone, without giving too much away.  It’s a book that presents problems and asks questions, but doesn’t offer any solutions, leaving readers to come up with them on their own.  The book gives you a lot to think about it so it would be great for book club discussions.

As I started the book, I thought the writing had an old fashioned feel to it.  I adjusted to the writing quickly and, as I did, I felt it was perfect for Héctor’s story. I found myself charmed by Héctor early on, so I quickly turned the pages to learn how things turned out for him.  I felt a range of emotions as I read this book.  I have a feeling this book is going to garner quite a bit of attention and may even win an award or two.

Things aren’t tied up neatly at the end, and, a lot of times, that would bother me, but I felt it was perfect for this book since it addresses an ongoing issue – illegal immigration.  It’s an issue that polarizes many people, but The Iguana Tree makes the issue personal.  You’ll want to check this book out.

Review copy provided by Hub City Press.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
38 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2012 4:42 am

    I love reading book reviews but hardly ever actually read the book in the review. This one sounds really good though and I’ll definitely be getting myself a copy asap. Thanks for writing such a great review.

  2. March 27, 2012 6:01 am

    This sounds like an excellent book club selection

  3. sandynawrot permalink
    March 27, 2012 6:58 am

    Alrighty then! I have the book, kindly sent to me by Hub City. I just have to put it in the queue. Nice review!

  4. March 27, 2012 7:00 am

    Kathy, I think I’d really enjoy this one. Hadn’t heard of it before.

  5. March 27, 2012 7:05 am

    This is new to me as well and I suspect I would like it very much. Hoping my library will get it or maybe it’s available on the Kindle. Off to see.

  6. Beth F permalink
    March 27, 2012 7:48 am

    Wow. This sounds really moving, and I don’t mind ambiguous endings that make me think. This is a new to me title too.

  7. March 27, 2012 8:48 am

    Thanks for this review, Kathy. My parents live on the border in Tucson, so I have a real interest in this issue, which as you say is so polarizing, but also so important in terms of human rights. I am definitely putting this on my TBR list!

  8. March 27, 2012 8:53 am

    Oh, this one is new to me but you certainly have me intrigued. I’ll add this one to my wish list.

  9. March 27, 2012 9:22 am

    A good book for me, living in Arizona!

  10. March 27, 2012 9:31 am

    I’m definitely adding this one to my TBR list – it sounds like my cup of tea. What a great review! Plus, on a personal note, I’m Hispanic, so the immigration issues are something that I’m very interested in. So glad you read this one! Thanks!

  11. RebeccaV permalink
    March 27, 2012 9:57 am

    Great review Kathy – another book along these lines that is a good read for anyone interested in the general topic is “Enrique’s Journey” by Sonia Nazario.

  12. aartichapati permalink
    March 27, 2012 10:38 am

    Oh, I am so intrigued by what the title of this book has to do with the story. What is an iguana tree and why is it important? I am glad that there are books being written in story form about illegal immigration- I think it’s important to note both sides of the story along with the hard facts.

  13. March 27, 2012 10:47 am

    I am going to be reading this one very soon, and am really excited about it because of the ambiguity and the story that it tells. I think your review was wonderful, and really highlights the strengths of this book. Hub City does have some really amazing books out there!

  14. March 27, 2012 10:52 am

    Wow! This one does sound intriguing and doesn’t sound like anything I’ve ever read, so I think I must check this one out. I do wish I was in the area to check out Hub City Books!

  15. March 27, 2012 11:08 am

    I tried leaving a comment, but it won’t let me so am trying again! (technology! $%^#) Anyway, this doesn’t seem like anything I’ve ever read before, so I’m looking forward to checking this one out!

  16. March 27, 2012 11:31 am

    I am about 50 pages into this one. The old-fashioned writing? Yes, I would agree, it seems a tad dated but that is how other countries sometimes are, so I feel that it works.

  17. March 27, 2012 11:36 am

    Excellent review, Kathy, and I appreciate the lack of spoilers as I’ll be reading this next month!

  18. March 27, 2012 12:24 pm

    This does sound like a great book club read. Thanks for no spoilers. I’m going to have to suggest this to my club.

  19. March 27, 2012 1:26 pm

    This sounds like it would be a really good book for a book club. Great review!

  20. March 27, 2012 3:14 pm

    Definitely one to think about!!!

  21. March 27, 2012 3:49 pm

    I do want things to be tied up in the end, I need closure

  22. March 27, 2012 5:54 pm

    I started this one last night and I even tweeted about it because I was already falling in love only 20 pages in. I have a feeling I’m going to be head over heels by the time I finish it. I can see what you mean about the old-fashioned writing, but like you, I think it suits the story so far.

  23. bookingmama permalink
    March 27, 2012 6:23 pm

    I haven’t read this one yet, but I wonder if it will remind me of THE TORTILLA CURTAIN.

  24. Harvey Thomason permalink
    March 27, 2012 6:46 pm

    The author is my god mother:) yay!! Way to go! I’m about to read it and my mom really liked it too (she went to Mexico with Michel for this book)

  25. March 27, 2012 7:25 pm

    This one is new to me. Sounds like it involves very relevant issues.

  26. March 27, 2012 8:09 pm

    I usually enjoy immigrant stories and this one feels just up my alley.

  27. March 27, 2012 8:34 pm

    Oh, this looks lovely. This is a seriously personal issue for me and for my family. I’ll definitely have to check it out!

  28. stacijoreads permalink
    March 27, 2012 8:43 pm

    This one sounds great and I think I would really be able to get into it! Great review!

  29. March 27, 2012 8:44 pm

    Your review and the book trailer really sparked my attention. I will keep my eye out for this one.

  30. March 27, 2012 8:54 pm

    Sounds like a really amazing book! I’m glad you let us know about it.

  31. March 27, 2012 11:13 pm

    Waht a great looking book! It’s a topic that would probably feel false if wrpped up too neatly. Whenever I listen or engage in a conversation about it, it becomes obvious that if there were an easy answer there wouldn’t be a problem.

  32. March 28, 2012 12:55 am

    I hadn’t heard of this one yet. It sounds like one I’d like though.

  33. March 28, 2012 7:25 pm

    This does sound like a thought provoking read. I like that it’s open ended in a way, and I’m curious about the old fashioned writing. Thanks for introducing this one!

  34. March 28, 2012 7:43 pm

    I read a little about illegal immigration recently in The Baker’s Daughter, so this one sounds good to me.

  35. March 28, 2012 8:33 pm

    This is a book that looks at a way of life that I’ve never read about before.

  36. March 29, 2012 4:14 pm

    I love books that make me think. This book made me think of The Lonely Crossing of Juan Cabrera which I had to read in junior high, and I always think of those books as boring, LOL, but this sounds really good!

  37. March 30, 2012 1:25 pm

    Sounds like a book that will stay with you long after you’ve read the last line.

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