I was buoyed by these kind words from the Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards
Blackbirds in the Pomegranate Tree is a beautifully written book that goes beyond the memoir genre. The subject matter is compelling enough (the author is falsely imprisoned in Mexico) but the skill and beauty of the writing and the choices the author makes bring it up to a higher level.
The author wisely leaves out non-essential early life details and focuses on what is important to the story. Passages having to do with her imprisonment and the charges are free of the blocks of exposition that could drag a story like this down. Her voice is strong and confident and the writing is poetic. She knows how to use her words, and she paints a beautiful, heartbreaking picture of both her beloved Mexico and her fellow prisoners. Her ability to evoke feeling without overly flowery or effusive language goes beyond skill and into talent. For instance, the description of the courtyard on pages 198-199 is like a prose poem. The reader, now familiar with the yard, can appreciate the word picture much better than if it had come earlier in the book.
She also knows how to let a scene speak for itself, and many of those involving her fellow prisoners are simple and powerful at the same time. One of the most poignant scenes in the book, when her dog Nini recognizes her in New York, represents all she has lost, her beautiful wonderful Mexican life before Ixcotel, but it’s so heartbreaking because she doesn’t expound on it, just lets it be.
ELORIENTE.NET, November 6, 2013
No idea how news of my book made it to Oaxacan newslines, except perhaps for inclusion of introduction by Elena Poniatowska, Mexico’s (our) most beloved journalist/novelist/humanitarian/activist.
TWITTER via Elena Poniatowska
Mary Ellen Sanger escribió un excelente libro sobre su injusto encarcelamiento en Ixcotel, Oaxaca donde se hizo amiga de las presas.