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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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The Earthquake Machine Paperback – September 29, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mary Pauline Lowry has worked as an open water lifeguard, construction worker, forest firefighter, and advocate in the movement to end violence against women. She has an M.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse (September 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1456795856
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456795856
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,251,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was the sort of book that after I finished, I had to walk away from for a little while. It's themes and topics are hard hitting at first, but it's after you walk away that you start really thinking about what was really going on. You remember scenes and conversations from the book long after you've stopped reading it and you try to figure out what the hell you think about it. Not only did the author's personal story inspire me, but her self-publishing story did as well. I had high expectations for this book and I can tell you that it did not disappoint. On the author's website, there is a disclaimer,

"Mary's agent didn't want to send out The Earthquake Machine to editors. The book was perhaps too edgy. Editors would be afraid to take a chance on such a wild ride. And so Mary decided to give readers a chance to find her."

There are so many things to say about this disclaimer. First...how courageous is she? To be able to understand how different your book is from mainstream fiction and to take a chance on readers finding the book is inspiring. I love that she does not want to conform to what is mainstream or politically correct. And the disclaimer is absolutely true. This book is extremely edgy and I could see many people not understanding how to take this book in or appreciate what Lowry has written. I appreciate that Lowry decided to go a different route with this novel and I'm extremely grateful it fell into my hands.

The Good: The Earthquake Machine is a dirty novel. Really, I'm not lying. It's dirty in the sense that it gets into your skin, deep down inside, scrubs all the clean out of you and then replaces everything with grit and dirt. Lowry strips away all conventions in this novel. Rhonda is not your typical girl nor will she ever be.
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Format: Kindle Edition
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
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 more 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 more 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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

"The Earthquake Machine" is the coming-of-age story of a fourteen-year-old girl. Rhonda's family life seems perfect on the surface, but her mother has mental health issues which her pharmacist father tries to solve by force-feeding her psych meds that kill her personality. The only person she feels like she can really talk to is Jesus, the Mexican gardener. Rhonda's world is shattered when her mother commits suicide and Jesus is deported by the INS. Rhonda goes on a camping trip with her friends to try to take her mind off of everything and ends up getting molested by one of the guides. She runs away to Mexico and begins an intrepid journey of self-discovery as she begins to examine her faith, her sexuality, and her future. She struggles to accept her changing body and to find her place in the world.

When I initially read the synopsis that the author sent me, I wasn't sure what to expect. It sounded as if the book would either be very good or very bad; luckily, I enjoyed it tremendously!

Rhonda's adventures in Mexico were a pleasure to read, from her encounters with a peyote-tripping bartender to being kidnapped by a gang of female banditos. While some of Rhonda's experiences seem a bit over the top, I don't find them outside the realm of believability. This is in part due to some of my own travel adventures which sound more like fiction than reality. I enjoyed the way that the author handled the contrast between the superficiality of Rhonda's family in the US with the authenticity of Jesus' family in Mexico, because she did so in such a way as to highlight the fact that neither world was perfect.
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