CELEBRATING THE HERO by Lyll Becerra de Jenkins

CELEBRATING THE HERO

Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Still mourning the mother who died suddenly last October, Camila Draper, 17, comes from Connecticut to San Javier, Mama's Colombian hometown, where the memory of ``Pachita'' Zamora-- Mama's father--is to be honored with a monument. Awaiting her American father and Colombian Uncle Victor and his family, Camila is welcomed by loyal household servants and by the mayor, who includes her in social events. But she's more interested in the past--ironically, since she refused to listen to Mama's family stories. Zamora was a town benefactor, but when Camila asks about him, she meets reticence and evasion. Fascinated, horrified, she pieces together--from a priest, from friends of Zamora, from letters--the portrait of a tyrant who destroyed his wife's well- being. Now the ceremony seems cruelly inappropriate, and Camila is angry at Uncle Victor's speech, though his words are carefully chosen to reflect the truth. With insight and skill, Jenkins (The Honorable Prison, 1988, O'Dell Award) again brings the country of her birth to life in all its particularity, depicting a town with bitter stories to conceal--yet still craving a hero. Camila is thoughtful and idealistic; her quest is wholly absorbing. Talking with Victor, who has learned to forgive, she begins to understand that truth can be relative, and even to pity Zamora; her reconciliation with Victor opens the way to her own reconciliation with the past. A beautifully crafted novel. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-525-67399-7
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1993