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Patricia va a California (Spanish Edition) (Spanish) Paperback – March 1, 2001
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The story features Patricia, who lives in Panajachel in Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Similar to Ana in the previous story, her family subsists on limited means. One day an opportunity to live in the United States falls at her feet and her family makes a large sacrifice to allow her to make the journey. She lives with a family in Ventura, California and soon meets the (presumably Caucasian) high school cheerleader Debbie Martin who mistakes Patricia for a Mexican and then loudly expresses her fervent dislike for Mexicans. Patricia's extremely friendly host family tells her to ignore Debbie's racist fulminations, but she can't shake them. One day Patricia sees Debbie cornered in her car by a man with a handgun. Patricia leaps into action and everything changes. This is pretty intense material for a beginner's book.
Along the way the book discusses some aspects of Guatemalan culture and lifestyle, such as colorful huipils and some differences between indigenous Guatemalans and ladinos. Morality also plays a large role, including suggestions of anti-racism, anti-materialism and reconciliation. Those who made it through "Pobre Ana" will have little difficulty finishing this equally short book, though, as already said, the preterite appears a little over half way through, as do constructions with verbs and prepositions such as "para comer." So, true to the purpose of the entire series, expect slightly more advanced grammar from "Pobre Ana." The series continues with "Casi se Muere" which still remains at level 1, though also builds on material presented here. Overall, the Blaine Ray series presents great supplemental reading for learning Spanish. It can't take the place of more traditional learning, but it will enhance and enliven the experience of learning another language - and it may make those monotonous but necessary verb drills more meaningful.