Friday, September 21, 2012

The Gift of El Tio - A Book Review

The Gift of El Tio 
Larry Buchanan and Karen Gans 

Until I cracked this book, I looked upon any memoir with a good deal of trepidation. Like a history text book, those memoirs I've read were always a rather dry recitation of facts and dates. As you might guess, I haven't read many memoirs. Now we come to this book. The Gift of El Tio isn't quite a memoir and yet it is, after a fashion. This book chronicles the change the people of a tiny remote village of San Cristobal, Bolivia went through when an enormous silver deposit was discovered beneath their little village. But that's not the only changes chronicled in this book.

In order for the silver to be mined, the backwards villagers of San Cristobal had to be moved. Their entire village had to be moved - something they were thrilled to do. You see, El Tio promised them a gift, a gift of wealth and a new life. All because the silver discovered by Larry had remained hidden despite all other ventures to find it. The time was right for it's discovery. It was time for the prophecy to come true. El Tio and the silver had waited for hundreds of years for Larry to make his discovery.

Can you imagine, a prophecy, a real prophecy? Really! But like in all things, even prophecies have a flip side of the coin. What is it? Just like Larry had to wait 10 years to find out, and just like I had to wait until the end of the book to find out. You too simply have to read this book to find out. Now that I've tweaked your curiosity. Fuze Publishing is the place to go. The Gift of El Tio is listed under non-fiction and well worth your money. 

As most of you know, my reviews find their way to a writerly subject eventually. We all strive to write in a character arc when we craft our stories. In this book, you will find so many arcs. There's nothing like real life for seeing such a thing. In this book, the villagers of San Cristobal are not the only people to change. They went from a simple people worshiping many minor gods as well as the Catholic God brought to them by the Spaniards. They also saw demons in every dark crevasse and cave along their mountainous roads and trails. Rituals and sacrifices saw them safely through their life. They became very different by the end of the book. Modern, working hard, even harried - too busy to honor the gods.

But they weren't the only people to change. Follow Larry and his wife Karen as they too change. Larry, the stark realist discovers religion, after a fashion, and Karen, who saw the world through rose colored glasses, learned to take the glasses off once in a while.

So, if you want a lesson in character arc, or if you just want a really good read, buy this book. You will laugh out loud and you will cry; I did both, and that too is something every writer strives to accomplish.


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Mari Collier said...

It sounds intriguing, but I have two other books to finish and a stack to read.

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William Kendall said...

It sounds like a completely different premise than what we're usually seeing about. Which in this case is a good thing...