Beyond the Snow of the Andes
By Beatrice Brusic
“Beyond the Snows of the Andes” is a tale of survival, tragedy, growth and self realization set against one of the poorest, most exotic countries in South America, which is Indian Bolivia. It’s a moving, tender story of love and sacrifice, guts and determination set against the highlands of La Paz, Bolivia, one of the highest capitals of the world besides Tibet. It’s also a tribute to immigrants the world over and a detailed account of the adjustments and sacrifices they must each make in their search for a better life.
It’s a tribute to America, the country that still lures more immigrants to its shores than any other country in the world with its enticing promise of freedom and prosperity. It’s a tribute to Bolivia, to its rugged, wild, exotic beauty so unique and special. It’s a tribute to life, with all its trials and tribulations. It’s about learning how to live, it’s about accepting hardship and misfortune and moving forward. It’s a book about the search for freedom, for autonomy, as vital as the air we breathe. The story of this extraordinary family and the challenges they face, won’t leave you unaffected. It will make you think and feel. I will expose you once again to the wondrous power of the human spirit.”
For someone who has emigrated to the U.S. from a third world country and probably did not speak English all that well, this book has a strong command of the English language. I can see a lot of potential in this memoir because it tells the tale from an emigrant’s perspective about life in a country that does not have all the luxuries that you find here in United States. After reading about how expensive soap is in the country of Bolivia, it reminded me that I ought to be appreciative of the things America has to offer.
The picaresque style i.e., a collection of small incidences, stories, and tales can be seen throughout the course of this novella. As one of my favorite styles of writing, I want to say that this story has left me laughing out loud at one point while crying at another. Having said this, the style that the author uses is probably the strongest part that I can foresee in this work.
The Really Good:
I love the fact that I had been able to learn about a culture that is entirely different than my own. Coming from a Puerto Rican and German background, this story is exciting, fresh, and enlightening, especially when you learn about a lifestyle that is entirely different than your own. This memoir has also allowed me to brush up my Spanish with more information about the South American culture. It’s been roughly six years since I have studied Spanish in school and by this story, I felt encouraged that I was learning something new. I strongly felt the sense of immersion not only by the landscape and lifestyle Beatrice describes, but also the euphemisms, idioms, and slang she expresses to describe the book.
I see a couple of problems in the book that might hinder the reader from ever purchasing this book. For starters, I would like to point out the tense that the author has used from start to end. Normally, whenever English speakers recall past events, we usually use the past tense. The importance of usage for writing this memoir in this tense is because of two things: (1) The characters introduced in this book may not be still alive and (2) The events have occurred some time ago. Using the present tense throughout the book made it seem like the tales were done quite recently and the people are still alive.
A second problem I noticed in this book is the lack of chapter titles, dates, and introductions that the author has not mentioned. Boy, I wish I knew what the time period was; I had a hard time understanding where I was at. I love this book and I think this memoir has plenty of potential.
The last thing I want to mention is the book cover for the e-Book. To be honest, I like the picture of the city of La Paz, but not the picture of Beatrice standing by it. I might be speaking from my personal tastes, but I think the cover picture could turn the reader off simply because it doesn’t look appealing. You might want to try using a different picture and font for the book cover overall.
Parker’s Overall Grade: