Maya's Notebook

Maya's Notebook: A Novel - Isabel Allende

I bought the Kindle edition of this when it was offered as a Kindle Daily Deal.


Isabel Allende’s latest novel, set in the present day (a new departure for the author), tells the story of a 19-year-old American girl who finds refuge on a remote island off the coast of Chile after falling into a life of drugs, crime, and prostitution. There, in the company of a torture survivor, a lame dog, and other unforgettable characters, Maya Vidal writes her story, which includes pursuit by a gang of assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol. In the process, she unveils a terrible family secret, comes to understand the meaning of love and loyalty, and initiates the greatest adventure of her life: the journey into her own soul.


First thoughts: I had heard of Isabel Allende prowess, but had never gotten around to reading any of her books. Perhaps because they have never appealed to me. Perhaps I just never came across any. Whatever it was, as soon as I saw one of her books pop up as a Daily Deal I knew it was finally time to give her novels a chance.


What I liked: There was very little I did not like about this book. As soon as I reached a point where I figured I had reached the peak, I would read on and discover something new that I liked. One moment I thought that for sure the characters made the book, then the next I would change my mind and realize that was the writing that made this book so good and so enjoyable. I am still not sure what attracted me so strongly, but whatever it was, I loved this book. It took me a while to get through it, but each moment was worth it.


What I didn't like: I did think that at times, the plot seemed to go slowly. On one hand there was Maya's youthful adventures that I read in a rush, but then the narration would switch back to the Chilean island where Maya was hiding out and everything would slow down and while it was still beautiful there did not seem to be any huge rush to continue on.


I'm not sure if I will read more of Allende's novels. I enjoyed Maya's Notebook of course but I'm not sure if I would enjoy her normal fare of magical realism that is her normal style.