Rain of Gold by Victor Villasenor

I can always tell whether I like a book or not by how fast I read it. If I love it, I just can’t put it down. This book was just average for me and one that I could quite easily put down.

Rain of Gold is the somewhat fictional, somewhat non fictional telling of the author, Victor Villasenor’s, parents lives as they were growing up, and of their meeting each other. Its kind of a history of sorts although to be sure even a telling couldn’t have rendered this much detail so that is where the fiction steps in. His mother, Lupe, a beautiful girl who grew up in a mining canyon and then later moved to the United States with her family, has known hard work and kindness for most of her life. His father, Juan, on the other hand, has the love of his mother but has also had a hard life and turns out to be a bootlegger who spends his time in the illegal trade to make a living for himself and his family. But when Juan sees Lupe he knows there is a future there and will do all he can to make her his wife even if his dangerous business pursuits get in the way.

Lupe was probably my favorite “character”. Between she and Juan’s mother they both had so much life in them and wisdom. Maybe it was the author’s adoration shining through but you could really see what fantastic people they were. His father Juan I cared a little less for and I got the impression that he could be a hard man to live with, just as his father had been. The other people were interesting but more just off to the side when compared to Juan and Lupe and only served to help their story along.

Villasenor has done a work of love with this book. He has captured his parents histories and put them down on paper for everyone to enjoy and they did have interesting lives. I truly did care about what happened to them. That being said there was a lot of detail and scenes and people that didn’t add anything to the book for me. It could have easily been a hundred pages shorter and still got the story across beautifully. I found myself setting the book down a few times just because the amount of detail got too overwhelming and even boring at points. While wordy his writing is clear though and he has a way with his characters, but he doesn’t hesitate to use foul language or descriptions either. But these are also tempered with pretty descriptions and almost poetry like wisdom from the people in this book.

Not bad but not one of my favorites either. If it had just been a little less detailed I think this would have been a great book for me.

Rain of Gold
Copyright 1991
543 pages

Review by M. Reynard 2011

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