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Cofer, Judith Ortiz. The Meaning of Consuelo: A Novel.

COFER, Judith Ortiz. The meaning of Consuelo, a novel. Beacon Press. 196p. c2003. 0-8070-8387-9. $13.00. JSA*

Ortiz Cofer becomes a better and better writer with each book, whether novel (The Line of the Sun, Univ. Of Georgia, 1989) or short story collection (An Island Like You, Orchard/Puffin, 1995, and The Year of Our Revolution, Pinata, 1998). The Meaning of Consuelo is nearly perfect in both characterization and plotting. As with most of the author's work, this too is set in Puerto Rico, during the middle of the 20th century, and told through the alert viewpoint of a loved, but sometimes taken for granted, daughter. Politics and family dynamics both concern and engage Consuelo. Her father is not, perhaps, faithful to her mother, and her mother creeps steadily toward madness, just as Consuelo's younger sister moves from lighthearted to giddy to out of control and into tragedy.

Ortiz Cofer's prose is accessible while poetic, making this a fine book for critical reading as well as for enjoyment. Puerto Rico's identity as a naturally pleasant place where the inhabitants daily face the political ugliness of its commonwealth status is depicted both accurately and with a universality that will appeal to readers from other lands that don't have full political independence. Excellent book group reading. Francisca Goldsmith, Libn., Berkeley PL, Berkeley, CA

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

A--Recommended for advance students and adults. This code will help librarians and teacher working in high schools where there are honors and advanced placement students. This also will help extend KLIATT's usefulness in public libraries.

*--The asterisk highlights exceptional books.
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Author:Goldsmith, Francisca
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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