From the Mountains, to the Valley, to the Promised Land: The Journey of Luz Luna
Dog Ear Publishing (2014)
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (03/15)
“From the Mountains, to the Valley, to the Promised Land: The Journey of Luz Luna” by Steve Aicinena begins with the story of Luz’ parents, and Pedro and Paola Luna. Paola was sold as a wife to Pedro by her Mennonite mother when she was 13 years old. Paola spent her entire life under her abusive husband living a loveless life filled with hard work, and bearing and taking care of 17 children where her only consolation was helping others when she could, her honesty and her faith. The story continues with Luz Luna’s life. She did not have much more luck than her mother, but shared her honesty, and good heart. Her life story is heart wrenching and heartwarming as she survived poverty and abuse, and still dared to dream of a better life. Luz will embark on a journey in search of her dreams to the Promised Land across the border.
Steve Aicinena presents the reader with a narrative and dialogue that tells the true story of Luz Luna, a lady whom he met one of the seldom times Luz went to church. He uses her life for the purpose of inspiring readers, and that he does. His knowledge of Mexico and its culture is evident as the level of detail with the setting and character development takes the reader into the story, not letting go from the beginning to the end. I was born and raised in Venezuela, and although my quality of life was heaven compared to Luz, I shared the dream to come to the US. Needless to say, I felt Luz’ accomplishments as my own and rooted for her from the beginning! I just wished the author would have chosen a more entertaining format to tell her story, one that would have appealed to a bigger audience, maybe less telling and more showing because its inspirational element should be heard.
From the Mountains, to the Valley, to the Promised Land: The Journey of Luz Luna” by Steve Aicinena is truly an inspirational story that will warm the coldest heart and take the reader through the life of a Mexican girl who dreamed about a better life in the US. Many readers have seen the faces of girls like Luz, it is time they read their story.
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