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Following Mateo Paperback – July 6, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Trafford Publishing (July 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1553697383
  • ISBN-13: 978-1553697381
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,419,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tom Molanphy was raised in Texas, attended college in New Orleans, and received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana. He taught in Belize for two years and currently directs the writing program at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. Following Mateo is his first book.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"In the bush, life shot up with soft green thrusts in cahunes and palms and in sturdy brown flexes with royal mahogany and copal trees, which the Mayans scraped for the incense they burned in every religious ceremony. Life shimmied down with thick ivy and hanging vines, some of which could be slashed open with a machete to release water like some hundred-foot long straw. And, underneath all this cover, life grew sideways with the slither of snakes, the prowl of jaguar, the swoop of parrots, and the crawl of the iguana, whose fat Mayans have used as medicine for centuries. Pink clouds like the earth's last hot breath steamed above the flora. The jungle seemed thick with life, life toppling over life."

- "Following Mateo"


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Edwin Francis Colon on May 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Following Mateo is definitely a down to earth book. My friend Tom definitely put it right about life in the southern villages of Toledo and also as a missionary. I've known Tom for the two years that he spent here in Belize. I loved the book and will definitely read it again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Following Mateo is a personal memoir of Tom Molanphy's two year stint as a volunteer educator in Belize. Mateo is a Mayan Indian whom the author becomes very close to in the course of his internship. Following Mateo, the title, refers to the author's attempts to get Mateo to take him to the bush country of Belize. The author has successfully integrated history, anthropology, cross cultural studies and religion into this highly readable memoir.
I am a college professor teaching English l02 - a writing course using argument from social science topics and also literature, particulary memoir. My students - all l05 of them - absolutely loved the book. They liked the author's descriptive writing style which made them feel they were right there in Belize.They liked the many lively characters that the author presents. They liked the way the author integrated his personal journey with the daily events. They liked reading about a young man on an adventure who had questions about life, about religion, about risktaking. They liked the crosscultural atmosphere of the book and the way the author showed these differences. They liked the light hearted and humorous aspects of the book. They liked the various insights the author gained during his journey, especially about friendship. In writing their essays they were able to center on diverse messages and were often able to interract with the memoir from their own experiences. One student said she liked the book because the author opened himself up and was not "preachy". I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the essays my students were able to write due to the many insights the author offered. It was indeed a journey of joy. I recommend this book to college professors of freshman writing and senior high school teachers as well as volunteer coordinators in various non-profit groups.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Esquivel on February 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Tom Molanphy has a good story to tell about a search for self in a country of different cultures, languages, races,etc. While reading "Following Mateo" I was transported back from the hazzles of everyday life and never-ending city activity to Southern Belize where, through Tom's creative descriptions, I found myself engulfed by nature. Peppered with humor Tom lets us experience father nature in a unique fashion. He tells of how it demands respect,of how we have to adjust to accommodate it and of how rough it can be and yet how soothing her gentle embrace. The book took me through trails under the towering canopies and over mountains that lead to discoveries of people living from the land. People who have learned to coexist and respect the land.
The book was and excellent read. It thought me about the journey of life and the little journeys within. It also thought me to, every now and then, "stop and smell the flowers, but to be careful not to get stung by a bee that may have beat me to those flowers".
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ron Wootengreen on February 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
An odyssey: into the jungles and wetlands of Belize, into the hearts and lives of a few native Belizians, and into the process of self knowledge and maturity, best describes, for me, Tom Molanphy's well crafted adventure/pilgrimage book: Following Mateo! Tom writes with grace and great self deprecating humor and enthusiasm about his journey to Belize as a volunteer teacher, his evolving friendship with an older tribal wise man and leader, Mateo, and their adventures.
Through an invitation to personally tutor Mateo's young daughter, Tom experiences the hospitality of Mateo's family and a growing knowledge of their way of life. Tom's desire to get Mateo to take him "into the bush," i.e., the deep jungle territory where (in his perception) ancient ritual hunting and gathering rites of the Ke'kechi take place. His subsequent hiking adventures to "prove" his capabilities to Mateo provide hilarious incidents of gradual self awareness for this young American "gringo," Tom.
As a veteran Jr. High/High School humanities teacher, I feel that this is a book that would appeal to this age range of student. It is a very "good read" for the adult reader as well.
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