This is a beautiful book. As the characters find their way from hopelessness to healing I was reeling with compassion for them all. Best book I read last year, and I read a lot!
I completely agree it was amazing
I agree, best book I’ve read in a long time. Really enjoyed reading a contemporary novel, characters that are completely relatable and storyline that intensified my own life experiences.
Really good book. I could not stop reading!
the book is good
hi I am Jim
Can someone say something
The book was so beautiful and had so many expressive elaborate messages and moments.
I’m just starting. The book is captivating me. I look forward to the discussions!
Hi just started the book.
I was born in Albuquerque, NM.Thus I am thrilled to read a book about the Hermanos.i will share my experiences of Semana Santa in my grammas house.
I look forward to reading your personal memories of Semana Santa.
Beautiful character development. Feelings, emotional responses were so raw. My heart broke for Yolanda who was suffering on every level but still trying to be present for her family.
I was furious with Amadeo & Angel for their seeming self absorption
It seems very realistic to me. People think more of themselves than the person who is dying, as in “how will this persons death affect me?”
Most of us struggle with the reality of our mortality to the point of not being able to relate to someone with a terminal illness.
Yolanda wanted for someone to notice that she was dying, without having to say it outright. It was as if they were too close and depended on her too intensely to notice. I kept hoping Cal
would call, or one of her work friends would notice that things were off.
Wonderful book. I would recommend it to anyone who is passionate
I liked the book very much. It illustrates what happens with lack of education, poverty and addiction causes in families. It also shows the consequences of broken families. It was uplifting to see healing and hope in the end.
Yes I agree. I-Also saw blame and fault on people and the environment around each individual. Each of them saw no way to help themself. They did grow and developed more self confidence as small battles where won.
I really liked it. Even though Amadeo and Angel are stuck in a dusty, impoverished disappearing little town they manage to regain their optimism despite failures and disappoinments. All of the characters are displayed in a garish almost pitiless light that illuminates every flaw- yet the author uses it to reveal what is good and strong in each member of the family.
The book was anchored on the sacrifice of Jesus since it began and ended at Easter. It showed love, pain, suffering, confusion and back to love.
One of my favorite comments.
this was an excellent book. The author’s first hand knowledge of the cultural aspects of the population in the area of New Mexico shined through.
am very familiar where this book takes place. My family lives in Española and the surrounding areas. For centuries. My beef with this book is that I think the author has not spent much time in Española and is perpetuating some long-standing prejudices about the community. The places she drops in to reference the locale feel “staged,” as if she did a search on Google Maps to find them. The author writes well enough and I get that she is trying to represent the Hispanic culture but I feel like she just perpetuated every prejudice spoken about Hispanics. Why not… Read more »
Agree with you it was downright depressing.
No bright spots for the girls.
So far, I have to agree with the very negative depiction of the Hispanic culture. I am not that far into the book, but it is so negative and depressing that I may not even finish it.
Assuming that ALL Latino families are like the one depicted in the book is the problem.
I belong to the same culture and in my line of work encounter families in similar circumstances, it doesn’t mean that everyone shares the same values and behaviors. We are individuals and generalizations are wrong and unfair.
My Black and Mexican daughters are nothing like Melissa and Angel. One is a medical doctor and the other one a tenured university professor.
I agree. I lived in numerous countries with Peru being one of them. I’ve observed ALL these issues in all these countries including the predominantly white town I now reside in. Unfair to take away that the author implied that these issues only exist in LatinX communities. Excellent writing by author highlighting the subtle nuances of the human condition.
After you get into it the characters grip you and you can’t put the book down.
I live in a primarily white culture and I can honestly say that there are people living within a mile or so of me who have the same problems as the characters in this book. The daughter of a friend had a baby when she was 13. The child is now in middle school and the mother is dealing with addiction. the author wrote an honest depiction of a situation. It just happened to be set in a place and culture you care deeply about. Very few readers would think that the story was true for all people in that… Read more »
I think most of us are able to separate the characters from the culture. I enjoyed the references to the deep religious traditions of which I had no previous knowledge. The characters are flawed, mainly because of universal circumstance: poverty, addiction, crumbling community and family structure. These are issues that are not unique to the Hispanic community.
I did not like this book, I’m sorry but feel like it was depressing a nd the. All of a sudden everything was better in the last chapter!
I get what you are saying. I felt it was well written but sad… with a quick turn in the end.
I agree about the ending. It seemed rushed. Sometimes it felt like I was reading a string of short stories.
I just started the book, I want to get into it, I’m having a lot of trouble with the Spanish words.
I loved how the author was able to make you feel empathy for the characters even though they were sometimes making bad decisions. It was a very human experience. I really loved the book!
The humanity and struggle of each character was gripping and I found myself caring deeply for them.So many poor choices, yet they all found the strength to be vulnerable and seek redemption. I loved this book
I live in the Northern New Mexico area discussed in this book. I appreciated the insights into the penitente culture having seen the Good Friday processions. I understand that the moradas and penitents are secret and not to be shown to outsiders and I respect their heritage. This family is messy mess but their interactions ring true and the hopefulness never dies.. Love to see the development of Angel anther parents.
I struggled at first with this book. I read it last year in April 2021 when it was the Barnes and Noble Monthly Book Club choice. I will rarely not finished a book not matter how much I am struggling to read it but I did consider not finishing this one. I found myself so frustrated at times with the characters (which guessing was the writer’s intent) especially Amedeo. I was BEYOND frustrated with Yolanda and how she wouldn’t share her discovery with her family and lean on them for comfort and assistance – to give them the change to… Read more »
The same with me, after I got into it I hated to put it down, the characters were so real, I really cared for them and did get frustrated with them.
My heart breaks
For this family struggling to love but making it
So so complicated. It was encouraging to see them
Grown and learn that it
Simple. Just forgive and love.
Most of the book/story was tragic but it was so well written. The way each character, with their different place in life- development, was portrayed, was so rich and real. The accident was so hard. Had to put it down got a bit…. Glad I kept reading.
The progression of Yolanda… was amazing. I felt this author really did the research or had so much experience in life and death.
The Five Wounds
This is a story of life and love. It’s characters are regular people with real life problems. The situations complicated and difficult but the writer makes them significant, like a pregnant teenager but totally ordinary wants and desires. Everyone in the story feels wronged and wanting. Although they each try to be better, it is only when they try for someone else they succeed. Thus, it is in love they succeed.
A well written character driven novel about a not particularly likable family that, like the rest of us are not all bad or good and still manage to evoke empathy and sympathy even if I can’t stand most of them. The family dynamic is so realistically done with its complexities, and their growth as the story progresses is believable and shows that who we are and how we react isn’t a finite thing.
I love a happy ending, especially a realistic one. Without real tragedy, how can they appreciate the good? What a difference a year can make.
What this book illustrated for me,
is the pernicious cycle of poverty, violence and dysfunction. So vey unfortunate for Amadeo, Melisa and Angel that they didn’t have role models to show them how to relate to others stating needs, appreciating and communicating respectfully without insults.
I absolutely loved the way the stories of each character are told, their insecurities, their dreams…they are so human and relatable. Their behaviors reflect their development in an authentic and honest way.
What a wonderful book!
Maybe Yolanda was a role model. Like my grandmother she worked and provided for everyone in her family, she did all the cooking and cleaning and supported her children no matter their circumstances. She was a loving and solid rock for everyone.
Definitely a hard read emotionally for me. A little too close to home with family dynamics, personal decisions and the repercussions of those decisions. The author does an awesome job of portraying reality. Even if it is hard to read at times. It is true, with hard work one can overcome the past. It was a little too quick of a simultaneous change for the main characters for me. Overall, I would recommend as a top read for 2022.
This was a great read. I read it in 2021 and I will not forget it. Good character development and a glimpse into a world with which I was totally unfamiliar.
I enjoyed this book, especially seeing the characters grow and change. The book is a testimony for second chances.
This is a wonderful depiction of how difficult life can be for many people in this country. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to the problems presented in this novel. Perhaps Finland has the right idea by improving life for the children first in order to create better adults.
I liked the reality shown in the characters thought processes.
Loved this book. The story shows family life in an authentic way. There is dysfunction mingled with love, care and concern. My heart ached for Yolanda, the matriarch, who made her son a dependent inadvertently because of her love. Great writing and storytelling.
So powerful on so many different levels! So absolutely dead-on addressing the real issues of our times, the location and the generations.
For me, this was a story of family as we all experience family. A non traditional family functioning at some of the most extremes of circumstances, they wrestled with the issues common to all families-loyalty, bad and good behavior, and wrestling with the constant balance of family versus individual needs. In families, I think we are at our best and at our worst.
Amazing. Such fulsome character development.
Thank you for offering this ” Together We Read” program. I truly enjoyed this book. Beautiful, painful and real.
Yes. Thank you for offering this “Together We Read” program. This is the first book I have read in this program and this book will live with me forever. The characters are so well written that they have become part of my consciousness. Details of the choices, land scape, young mothers, and family lives are realistic to my experiences as a social worker. Thank you for writing your book so carefully and lovingly.
Well written and raw in its honesty so far. Im in pain for the family at this point and especially Yolanda.
Like many of the others who posted, I found the story depressing and thought about not finishing it. I agree with the one who wrote, why not include some Hispanic characters who were successful or made a better balance of good and bad choices. It was interesting to read about the Holy Week and processions, though it could have been even more educational…I think the author only touched the tip of the iceberg. I’m not sure how realistic the characters were. I felt for Yolanda and how her family and associates were blind to her disease. While that seemed very… Read more »
I really enjoyed this character driven novel. It rings true, without apology. The setting provides a backdrop for the characters and their growth – but it could be changed to any location. The Hermanos and their penance add a beautiful layer to the complexity of the character’s motivations and personal development. But the themes and conflicts could be ( and are) played out in many locations. For me, the beauty of a book is in the emotion and the way the author captures and maintains your rapt attention. I really felt the hopelessness/ hope, pain, confusion, the joy and fear… Read more »
Throughout this book, it was sometimes extremely difficult to tolerate these characters. However, I found myself still wanting to know what happens to them and how they end up. Whenever I felt myself hating the book because of the characters, I had to step back and ask myself, “why?”. Do I dislike them because these are not the situations I would put myself in nor the decisions I would make? Or is it because they remind me of the people in my life who have similar mindsets and qualities? I think the author did a wonderful job at highlighting the… Read more »
I just wanted to say that “Together We Read” is a great idea! Happy to have found it today!
I enjoyed this book. The characters were familiar. I can’t understand the lifetime of disappointments that drive the characters to make the choices they do. It is very frustrating to watch them, The story was uplifting because there was a chance for redemption and community for the characters at the end.
My major takeaway from the book was how important it is that every child be loved and feel useful and important. Often the characters that were most unable to communicate their love of others were people who had not been actively loved and cherished as children. Angel and Amedeo particularly contemplated thoughts of how adults seemed to toss them aside when they were children. This lack of self worth and self defeating behaviors are an endlessly repeated cycle once they are started. Because Angel went to the classes and absorbed the information she broke the cycle. i liked the book… Read more »
Ultimately, the novel is uplifting, though for hours at a time, I felt it was relentlessly headed for an unavoidable, horrible denouement. Amadeo’s self-pitying alcoholic slide seemed destined to drag his entire family into the abyss he created. While his redemption was foreshadowed from the start, it seemed shockingly abrupt.
Strong example of The difficulties of generational trauma, the power of relationships to ‘heal’ and the importance of early intervention.
Good read. I was rooting for all of the characters to overcome the adversity and hardship they faced.
I loved how the author made the characters such real human beings with good intentions, pure feelings, mixed baggage and not always such great choices. It became also obvious that some of us have more buffer where we land when we make bad choices while others get no grace at all.
An entertaining read. THe author knows the environment. Her characters reflect the people of the mountain villages and their lives and tensions.
The characters are very realistic. Their flaws reflect their humanity. While each character struggles, there is always a fragment of hope .
The author has written this book with raw evidence of generational “curses”. Both hilarious and grim, The Five Wounds is a must-read.