Prime The Earthquake Machine Author Mary Pauline Lowry – Blockdiagramwiring.co
The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry tells the story of Rhonda, a girl who s haunted by the discord in her seemingly perfect upper class family and terrified by the pressures she faces as a tween on the cusp of womanhood Rhonda s closest and best friend is the family gardener, a Mexican immigrant named Jes s her world is turned upside down when Jes s is deported and the chaos in Rhonda s family reaches a breaking point Rhonda runs away from home to search for Jes s and to try to escape a future that seems all but inevitable becoming a caged bird like her mother and the other upper class women she knows Rhonda s fantastic journey takes her across the border and deep into the heart of Mexico, where she encounters women at all ages and stages who are, like her, struggling to make their way in a world that privileges men The Earthquake Machine chronicles the daring adventures and tragic misfortunes that catalyze Rhonda s coming of age as a strong young woman who refuses to conform to society s expectations for her The Earthquake Machine is a smart, dark, fanciful take on the female Bildungsroman Lowry s descriptions of the train wreck of Rhonda s family and the hardships she faces on the run are unflinching, yet they aren t meant to present tragic scenes that turn readers into rubberneckers ogling a bloody wreck Instead, Lowry asks the reader to consider hard questions about sex, gender, and identity, and she posits answers to those questions by showing how Rhonda comes of age as a girl who is comfortable in her own skin and confident in her ability to survive in a world that s particularly hard on women and girls What s , Lowry s lush prose, surprising plot twists, and deft literary style contain delightful elements of magical realism that temper the tragedies in The Earthquake Machine and bring warmth and humor to the story It s no wonder that Huffington Post reviewer James Moore declares, The Earthquake Machine moves Lowry into an elite group of young female writers Mary Pauline Lowry s The Earthquake Machine is a wild ride that you won t want to get off until you finish it The Earthquake Machine will rock your world have to thank the author who gave me a free e copy of her novel It s always a real pleasure for me.This novel is about a young teenager who is fourteen, but I don t think teen will appreciate this book as much as older readers It s the kind of story that moves you, not only because the character is living tough events, but because it s a journey In my opinion it s an initiatory novel with a character looking for her true identity The writing style of the author is awesome It s mostly descriptive because it s kind of introspective, but not in a boring way at all The author gives life to her character and her inner thoughts Everything is true, not filter in any ways In my opinion, the author catches perfectly the evolution of her character about her life, about the discovery of her sexuality and it s sounds totaly right It s been a long time since I didn t read something so moving by the simplicity of the writing style I was hooked by the strong character that s living tough events I could identify myself sometimes with her and I was always looking for where she s going Nothing is predictable like in real life.It s the kind of novel I know I ll remember a long time because of this unbelievable journey that enhances a wonderful character perfectly served by a writing style in accord with the voice of the character It s sad, it s funny and it s just amazing to read.The cover doesn t fit the story, so don t think twice before reading this novel It s something that will force you to think about what it was like at the same age and how you would have react with everything the character is coming through.Once again, thank you Mary Pauline Lowry for this opportunity to read your novel and to discover your writing style incredible for such a story You can forget about any lyrical sentences Here, it s about truth, about life and about an inner travel even than a real one. The Earthquake Machine Tells The Story Of Year Old Rhonda On The Outside, Everything Looks Perfect In Rhonda S World But At Home Rhonda Has To Deal With A Manipulative Father Who Keeps Her Mentally Ill Mother Hooked On Pharmaceuticals The Only Reliable Person In Rhonda S Life Is Her Family S Mexican Yardman, Jesus But When The INS Deports Jesus Back To His Home State Of Oaxaca, Rhonda Is Left Alone With Her Increasingly Painful Family Situation Determined To Find Her Friend Jesus, Rhonda Seizes An Opportunity To Run Away During A Camping Trip With Friends She Swims To The Mexican Side Of The Rio Grande And Makes Her Way To The Border Town Of Boquillas, Mexico There A Peyote Addled Bartender Convinces Her She Won T Be Safe Traveling Alone Into The Country S Interior So With The Bartender S Help, Rhonda Cuts Her Hair And Assumes The Identity Of A Mexican Boy Named Angel She Then Sets Off On A Burro Across The Desert To Look For Jesus Thus Begins A Wild Adventure That Explores The Borders Between The United States And Mexico, Adolescence And Adulthood, Male And Female, English And Spanish, And Adult Coming Of Age And Young Adult Novels Title The Earthquake MachineAuthor Mary Pauline Lowry Date of Release September 2011Number of Pages 356Summary from Goodreads The Earthquake Machine tells the story of 14 year old Rhonda On the outside, everything looks perfect in Rhonda s world but at home Rhonda has to deal with a manipulative father who keeps her mentally ill mother hooked on pharmaceuticals The only reliable person in Rhonda s life is her family s Mexican yardman, Jes s But when the INS deports Jes s back to his home state of Oaxaca, Rhonda is left alone with her increasingly painful family situation Determined to find her friend Jes s, Rhonda seizes an opportunity to run away during a camping trip with friends She swims to the Mexican side of the Rio Grande and makes her way to the border town of Boquillas, Mexico There a peyote addled bartender convinces her she won t be safe traveling alone into the country s interior So with the bartender s help, Rhonda cuts her hair and assumes the identity of a Mexican boy named Angel She then sets off on a burro across the desert to look for Jes s Thus begins a wild adventure that explores the borders between the United States and Mexico, adolescence and adulthood, male and female, English and Spanish, and adult coming of age and Young Adult novels.Review This book was brilliant I mean it took me places emotionally that I have never been before The wary Lowry wove each line into a piece of artwork was just perfect This review really isn t going to do justice to how I feel about The Earthquake Machine Mary Pauline Lowry has created a novel that will pull on your heartstrings and make you question everything you thought you knew about growing up Rhonda was the key character that made me fall in love with the novel Her development and growth as a dynamic character was pivotal to the plot and I loved the fact that her voice was raw and gritty I felt like I was walking write next to her every step of the way throughout the book Lowry does not shy away from developing Rhonda s identity even when she does make the pivotal switch in the Angel disguise Not mentioning the fact that Lowry face the topic of sexual awakenings would be a fault to this review It is one of the things that would make so many people uncomfortable with but the way it is written is done so thoughtfully I had no problem at all with it I even will go as far to say that I learned things personally in this novel which made me think about so many things that I never would have even had the chance to think about and that would have been a miss on my part I can honestly say many things happened in the plot line that I did not see coming I really liked how unique and original the novel was and how I had never read anything like it before Lowry is an amazing writer and I know we will see many books to her name out soon Rich in emotional intensity Earthquake Machine is a novel I hope many people decide to read. One of the best parts of being a book blogger is being approached to review books for up and coming authors I don t say yes to every request In fact, I would venture to guess that I only accept about 20% or less of the books I am asked to review There just isn t enough time in a day, know m sayin But during the time that I have been accepting review requests from the authors publishers themselves, I have had a chance to review a great variety of good books crime mystery, young adult, paranormal, short stories, literary, and even poetry I enjoyed all of them in varying degrees , but until now I have yet to really experience a moment of genuine surprise at how just how good a book was But hooray Now I get to check it off of my book blogging bucket list No, I don t really have one That s silly Ahem And now for the review The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline LowryThe Earthquake Machine tells the story of 14 year old Rhonda On the outside, everything looks perfect in Rhonda s world but at home Rhonda has to deal with a manipulative father who keeps her mentally ill mother hooked on pharmaceuticals The only reliable person in Rhonda s life is her family s Mexican yardman, Jes s But when the INS deports Jes s back to his home state of Oaxaca, Rhonda is left alone with her increasingly painful family situation.Determined to find her friend Jes s, Rhonda seizes an opportunity to run away during a camping trip with friends She swims to the Mexican side of the Rio Grande and makes her way to the border town of Boquillas, Mexico There a peyote addled bartender convinces her she won t be safe traveling alone into the country s interior So with the bartender s help, Rhonda cuts her hair and assumes the identity of a Mexican boy named Angel She then sets off on a burro across the desert to look for Jes s.Thus begins a wild adventure that explores the borders between the United States and Mexico, adolescence and adulthood, male and female, English and Spanish, and adult coming of age and Young Adult novels.The cover you see above is new I have to be perfectly honest for a moment before I really delve into my review With the new cover, I would not read this book YES, I would judge it by its cover I can admit it We all do it In my opinion, the cover does not do justice to the very serious issues or depths to which the book delves I fear that the cover would be off putting to a large population who might otherwise be willing to pick it up This is, of course, just my opinion, and it hardly matters since I did read the book and I did enjoy it, and I am going to recommend it to you So take that for what it s worth.The Earthquake Machine is, at its heart, a coming of age novel that tells the heart wrenching story of Rhonda as she escapes her painful life to Mexico to become Angel and search for Jes s on the lovely symbolism going on there in a moment I would like to talk specifically about how religion and sexuality play into this novel.Religion and sexuality are two of the very largest aspects of the human identity They shape some of the biggest choices we make what we believe in, who we marry, what kind of job we take, how we vote, where we go to school, who we spend our time with And while they are heavily influenced by the people around us, the choices of how and why to practice our religion and sexuality are ultimately up to us It s no wonder that so many coming of age novels feature these discoveries prominently As children make the transition to adults, they are trying to discover who they are and who they will be Religion and sexuality are intricately intertwined within this process for Rhonda Angel, whom I will from now on simply refer to as Rhonda to avoid confusion hand cramps.Rhonda s spiritual journey takes the shape of a very feminist spin on traditional Christian beliefs Rhonda undergoes several traumatic sexual events that cause her to feel severely ashamed of her gender The most obvious manifestation of this is in her decision, once she crosses the border into Mexico, to cut her hair, begin dressing as a boy, and drastically reduce her caloric intake to avoid growing hips and breasts and starting her period Even as she tries her hardest to convince those around her that she is just another Mexican boy, she finds herself clinging to La Virgen, the Virgin Mary Her belief that Mary understands her better than Jesus or God ever could because Mary understands female suffering is a theme that is echoed by several women throughout the novel, and which subtly explores the idea of traditional Judeo Christian beliefs as fairly oppressive to women.Not helping things much is the fact that Rhonda s exposure to men is largely negative She realizes that there are very few men whom she can trust, and in fact her search for Jes s leads her to cross paths with many unsavory male characters Even as she tries to find the one man who she thinks can save her, so to speak, she is being drawn further and further in to the idea of a female part of God that she can relate to, and finding her greatest friends and role models in women, from an independent female carpenter which was very easy to read as, like La Virgen, a role model similar in many ways to Jesus Christ but whom Rhonda felt she had a much greater connection with who is moved with compassion for Rhonda to Las Verduras, the feisty banditas who take Angel under their wings.Rhonda spends a great deal of time puzzling over her spirituality and trying to come to terms with God and Jesus She is ultimately unable to view them as than great abstract figures that mean nothing to her and surely cannot understand her, electing instead to grasp onto the Virgin Mary as her own personal piece of God It is difficult for me, as a Christian, not to let me personal feelings color my review of this aspect of the book, but the truth is that it never seemed to come across as too condemning of Christianity I felt myself understanding, at times, exactly how Rhonda felt and how she could have come to this conclusion At the very least there is a great potential for discussion what is it about Christianity that may be off putting to women Is it really the faith itself, or is it the way it is being practiced and portrayed Readers of The Earthquake Machine will find themselves rooting for Rhonda s successes and mourning her failures She is a remarkable character, so utterly lost and confused, yet stubbornly determined to be in control of her life, to chart her own course Her willpower is second to none She is not fearless, but she is brave She is emotional and analytical, but she is not weak In time she discovers that she can embrace both her strength and her femininity, and we need female protagonists like her She is so very far from perfect, but she is open minded and ready to learn what the world has to teach her.The Earthquake Machine reads at times like a love letter to Mexico It is rich in symbolism and culture the characters both north and south of the border feel authentic, and the developmental arcs that occur are believable yet surprising I was pleased to be unable to predict anything that happened, yet I believed it all thoroughly That is no small feat I m likely to put a book down if I can easily predict everything that happens When I finished reading the book I was craving Mexican food something awful.In closing I do want to take a moment to mention that readers should be aware that this book has quite a bit of adult content It does not shy away from some rather explicit moments, some of them rather disturbing These moments work to move the plot forward and shape Rhonda s character, but parents should be aware of the fact If the book was made into a movie and all scenes were left exactly as is, I am guessing it would receive an NC 17 rating I say this neither to deter or entice I obviously feel that this book is very much worth reading, but coming into it unprepared can be a bit of a shock, particularly because it is being marketed as a YA type crossover.Having done the English Major thing in college I tend to read books through the lens of could this ever be taught in a college Lit class and I have to say, my answer to this one was a resounding yes In fact, I suggest that if you read this book, you read it with a book club or at the same time as a friend so that you can discuss it there is a wealth of heavy topics around the central coming of age narrative that need and deserve to be talked about.I m going to conclude here, but stay tuned for a guest post and interview by Ms Lowry herself I m really excited The interview questions I sent her delve a bit into what is discussed here, because there just isn t time in one book review to discuss it all without turning it into a boring paper no one wants to read The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry is a novel of self discovery, grief, and adventure The only thing that gives Rhonda peace is sneaking out before dinner to spend time with her gardener, Jesus At 14, Rhonda s life turns upside down when the neighbors have Jesus deported shortly before her mother commits suicide She is now all alone in a house, with a father who cares about work than being there for his daughter Her best friends invite her along on a trip to raft the Rio Grande during that trip, Rhonda decides that she does not want to live her life any Instead of suicide, she decides to swim across the river into Mexico, and change her life She decided she would rather be a boy, and becomes a Mexican boy names Angel From there she travels through Mexico to find her friend, Jesus Along the way, she meets interesting characters both good and bad During this time, she makes discoveries about herself, and tries to fill the void that her other life has left I really loved the journey that Rhonda Angel takes to discover herself, and the understanding she gains My heart hurt for poor little Rhonda, for one who is so young to feel so much grief in her life When Rhonda sheds her old life to become Angel, she really does completely change She goes from a scared little girl, to a brave young man in a way She carries the strength throughout the story While this book has a young protagonist, it is not something I would not recommend to young teen readers There is a lot of foul language, and the journey involves a sort of sexual self discovery It would be great for adults and some older teen Mary Pauline Lowry has a way with metaphors and descriptions that allows you to experience the events of the book Unabridged Bookshelf received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review The Earthquake Machine is a one of a kind read It tackles many hard issues and it s much raw than the type of book I usually read I still enjoyed it though It s the story of a girl finding her place in the world and there s a real journey that changes Rhonda What really surprised me was how mature the book was It wasn t exactly dark, but there was a lot of stuff that you don t usually find in YA Everything was handled appropriately I don t think anything was overdone just to shock the reader Rhonda s journey was really interesting Rhonda was a dynamic character She really grew up and got stronger after the death of her mother In the beginning of The Earthquake Machine, she was quiet and compliant She didn t live the easiest life but she was still very naive in a way I could believe her character since I know people like her at my school People that are quiet and unsure of themselves Maybe the events that happened weren t the most realistic this is fiction after all but the way Rhonda responded to them felt real I didn t always agree with her decisions but I was raised in a completely different environment While Rhonda believed that women had no futures, from an early age I wanted to be much than a housewife I also cheered for Rhonda when she wanted and I adored her bravery The best part of the book was probably how Rhonda was well written You could easily connect and understand her character I live in Canada where we learn French so I completely missed out on understanding the Spanish in the book, especially when Rhonda visits Mexico, but there were enough definitions that I understood everything written Mexico s culture was a huge part of The Earthquake Machine and I loved it I don t really know much about Mexico and a lot of what I heard wasn t very positive so I enjoyed learning a bit about Mexican culture The freedom, the sense of community and revelry they have is incredible.One issue I had with the book was that it felt really long at some parts and it had to be read carefully The writing was great but the book just takes you in so many directions that it feels like the story is really long So much happens and I guess I m not used to all that in one book instead of books written in a series model I wasn t bored per say, but I wasn t always into the book as much as I could be.The Earthquake Machine is a surprising read that deals with harsh issues in a clear, unpretentious way Rhonda s journey is inspiring and thought provoking There is excellent characterization paired with a great plot that results in a very special read 3.5 stars, since I thought it was really good, 1 2 So I was lucky enough to win this book in a giveaway held by Amy from Obsessions Of A Bookaholic Thank you Amy and Mary for allowing me to read The Earthquake Machine I LOVED this book I was so happy to finally read another book with Hispanic culture in it I was raised Hispanic even though I was born here my parents were born in Chile We ve had many Mexican friends, and it was so refreshing and nice to read about their beautiful culture I was entranced by this book from the first page I knew it was going to be different when I read the description, and my expectations were not only met but surpassed Mary hits on so many labels and categories we take for granted in this book Through Rhonda, the main character, she explores the tightly knit connections between sexism, racism, and classism She explores gender and gender roles, the patriarchal institution of religion, and how a woman can gain power if she finds her inner voice In the beginning of the novel, Rhonda is a young fourteen year old, but by the end of the novel she has gone through so many experiences and hardships that it would be foolish to call her a mere girl She has matured from a doubting girl who is unsure of herself and afraid of the world to a mature person, one who has stepped between that shadowy line of young girl and young woman.I was very pleased and surprised by the feminist tone of this novel In this day and age, feminism is still under attack even though sexism continues to hurt women everywhere One of the things I really admired about this novel was how Mary shows that life can be good or bad on either side of the border, especially for women Rhonda s father is an excellent example of how a man can suppress a woman, change her drastically to a shell of a person At the same time, though, Rhonda felt the love and protection of Jesus, who she saw as a brother I also commend Mary for her on point Spanish skills I don t remember seeing any Spanish mistakes, and the dialogue felt natural and real I could tell she put a lot of effort in making the Spanish just right I feel so lucky to have won this book I hope it gains attention and receives the popularity it so rightly deserves It was an amazing, heart breaking journey that made me laugh and smile It s the type of book that changes you after you ve read the last page. Reviewed at The Queen of Teen Fiction my interview with Mary here Earthquake Machine is what I call a Roller coaster read You have your ups, your downs, your crazy loop de loop and some of those quick twists and turns that you didn t see coming The writing is fantastic and the story is completely unique and unforgettable.The Earthquake Machine tells the story of fourteen year old Rhonda, whose life is pretty messed up Not wanting to continue living life with her father, Rhonda escapes to Mexico in order to find her former yardman, Jes s.Rhonda changes her identity to one of a Mexican boy named Angel and begins her crazy quest to find Jes s.Rhonda is an incredible protagonist She has a huge amount of strength and courage and I highly enjoyed reading about her physical and emotional journey I think a lot of teen girls will be able to relate to some of the feelings that Rhonda has and will understand the things she is going through The characters she meets along the way are fantastic and they each add a great aspect to the overall story.The Earthquake Machine is highly focused on the sexual coming of age of a teenage girl I love books that deal with topics that everyone can relate to in some way and I think that this book deals with sexual awakening perfectly and has a great feminist tone to it Go Girl Power.I ll admit it I got a little bit emotional reading this one It s not often that I get teary during a book but Rhonda certainly doesn t have an easy journey, so keep those tissues handy when reading I think this is an amazing coming of age story that will be loved as much by adults as it will be by teens It s a book that I certainly won t forget about in a hurry I was blown away by this book The description and cover do it absolutely no justice whatsoever At first, I thought it sounded like a random mash of events that couldn t possibly be woven into a story at least not one that would affect me the way this has Boy, was I wrong I found myself, not reading into all hours of the night, but stopping often to digest what I had just read I guess I didn t expect the content to be so edgy with such a young main character, so it caught me a little off guard The author really did a fantastic job with Rhonda s character in general I was really able to get inside her head and experience what she was going through, sometimes than I might have liked I also enjoyed that the author had the guts to cover so many controversial and private topics in one book It s honestly a lot to take in, but Ms Lowry really exceeded my expectations with The Earthquake Machine and I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it.On a side note, I was so interested in the woman behind this book that I even went to the author s website to find out about her I never do that and was quite taken with her blog post about Alien She by Bikini Kill Come on now, how much cooler can this lady get It s really no wonder why I liked her book so much Everyone should read it.Reviewed by Brittany for Book Sake.