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Gonzalez and Daughter Trucking Co.: A Road Novel with Literary License Paperback – April 19, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; First Edition edition (April 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400097355
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400097357
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

From the author of Esperanza's Box of Saints (1999) comes this semi-surreal tale of Libertad Gonzalez, imprisoned in the Mexicali Penal Institute for Women. The jail has a decidedly looser environment than its name implies--one of the wealthier inmates has transformed the yard into a beachfront--and model prisoner Libertad decides to start a book club. No matter what book she chooses to read aloud from, though, she always has the same story to tell. In telenovela fashion, complete with cliff-hanging chapter endings, she tells her increasingly large audience a story about a former literature professor and fugitive from the Mexican government who becomes a truck driver in the U.S and his loving but controlling relationship with his daughter. Libertad's audience grows hooked on the story line (much like Escandon's will), chiming in with heated opinions on the twists and turns of the plot. It soon becomes apparent that the story is Libertad's own, and it has become her way of making sense of her life and her crime. This highly readable novel is a paean both to storytelling and to freedom. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

“A warm and ingenious novel that delights from start to finish.” —Alexander Payne, Screenwriter and Director of Sideways

“1,001 nights in a Mexicali women’s prison...González and Daughter Trucking Co. is about our compulsion to make events into stories and stories into bridges of understanding.” —John Sayles, Screenwriter and Director

“Escandón has delivered us yet another work of art. . . A whimsical, humorous, and passionate mystery that explores the love and hurt of a father and daughter on the run.” —Jorge Ramos, News Anchor for Univision and Bestselling Author

“An ingenious retelling of Scheherazade’s odyssey—but on wheels.” —Ilan Stavans, author of Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Full of well developed characters.
U ROSEMARY ROSIMONE Rosimone t Rosimone
I read this book not knowing what to expect and from the first few pages, I was hooked.
booklover
Bought this book last year, summer of 2005.
Elaura Renie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jose Stepensky on May 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you read this novel with the same passion that Maria Amparo Escandon wrote it, you will be amazed and delighted with every page. Her narrative is extraordinary and the story is simply unpredectible, sweet and ingenius. I loved her first novel "Esperanza's Box of Saints" but I truly belive that this new novel is going to be even bigger, a best seller, and like the first one, it's going to be translated into many lenguages. When the heroine of the novel, Libertad, reads to her fellow prisioners you will find your self feeling as if you were right there, in their shoes, asking for more; in every mile that she travels on the truck you will be seating in the back seat listening to her conversations with her dad. You will discover your self being part of the story and you are going to love every page!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard L. Goldfarb on September 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
I expected something of a magical realism novel, but this book surprised me with its very down-to-earth dual tales of a women's prison that was a refuge and the constantly moving truck that was in its way a prison.

Libertad won't reveal her crime to her co-prisoners in the Mexican women's prison in Mexicali. The prison itself is a contrast to U.S. prisons because money talks and thus the prisons are far more free. She begins, however, to open up when she creates a Library Club, where she entertains the inmates, guards and the warden with tales of Mudflap Girl. Her alter ego, orphaned Mudflap Girl is raised by her father in the back of a truck from birth. We watch her grow up and seek her freedom from her increasingly controlling father, paranoid of capture by agents of the Mexican government from offenses occurring many years and many changes of government ago. Meanwhile, Libertad begins to learn that the prison is for her the home and the family she never knew. Mudflap Girl eventually commits the crime that led Libertad to her prison term, and the only way out for everyone is for her new family to right the wrongs that brought her there. Eventually, a happy ending is shared by all.

Escandon's ability to create so many believable, in the terms of a novel like this, characters and so many worthwhile relationships is what made this novel come alive for me. Nothing is wasted, and every character has a place in the universe she creates. The only negative was that I thought the use of CB lingo was a bit over the top. But the characters of the Warden and the three Vietnamese refugee/prisoners and the relationship between Mudflap Girl and Martin more than made up for that. Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Carter on May 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
The best thing about this book was the fact that I learned so much about so many different things without even realizing it. Escandon taught me a whole new language, not Spanish, but trucker talk. Her writing flowed beautifully, and it was nice to see someone who didn't comparmentalize others. Just because ladies were in jail did not automatically make them bad people. She managed to show the reader multiple elements of many characters so that it was understood that each person had their strengths and weaknesses just as in life. It was an easy read, but also left me with a lot to chew on. Such fun!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ana M. Hale on May 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
I had to force myself to slow down and savor Gonzalez and Daughter Trucking Co. It was so good I wanted to rush through it to get to the end and find out the crime that Libertad committed.

You will enjoy the literary references sprinkled throughout the novel. Escandon is a wonderful writer who knows how to develop a flawed heroine that the reader admires and appreciates. She effectively communicates the internal conflicts that Libertad feels which prevents her from speaking of her crime to her fellow inmates. The reader gains the perspective of an inmate who eagerly awaits to hear her "story."

While Gonzalez and Daughter does require some "suspension of disbelief," it is not steeped in magical realism like Esperanza's Box of Saints. The reader is easily drawn into the story and the lives of the women in the prison, and the life of young Libertad - before she commits the horrible crime for which she is incarcerated.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By KC on November 14, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Escandon's first novel was of my all time favorites. I started reading this book with caution, and was initially quite critical, comparing it to her last. After just a few pages however, I knew not to worry. Libertad stole my heart the same way Esperanza did. I soon found myself caught in that glorious predicament (Do I turn the pages quickly to find out what is going to happen next, or can I slow it down some, so that I can linger with each character just a little longer...) when I know I don't want the story to end.

This was my kind of book. A total escape from my reality. A quick and easy read, but one to cherish, and to reflect on for a long, long time. I love the way Escandon tempers pathos with humor. How she takes the depth and pain of human suffering, and turns it around to create a masterpiece of colorful imagery.

Now do we really have to wait another five years to meet another cast of her quirky characters???
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jessica on May 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
this book is beyond amazing. i couldn't stop reading, i read it in one day! her first novel brought the world an incredible sense of the mexican culture, and maria escandon just took her character development to the next level. full of suspense, surprise, comedy, and so much more, i definitely recommend this book!
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