Monday, September 10, 2012

Me, Who Dove Into the Heart of the World [Book Review]

As much as I would like to call myself an avid reader, unfortunately with everything else going on in my life... I don't get to read as much as I would like to.  When I do find time for reading, the books that I pick up tend to be more factual based... especially dealing with topics about our environment.  So when I heard about the new book Me, Who Dove Into the Heart of the World by Sabina Berman being a novel about conservation and environment, I immediately became intrigued and wanted to read it.

When the book arrived in the mail, I couldn't wait to read it just based on the cover. (yes, I know I shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but when a book cover is beautiful... it's hard not to ;))  The book opens at one of my favorite places:

". . . the sea . . .
     . . . and the white sand beach . . ."

And just like that I was sucked in to this beautifully written, quirky and captivating book.  Written like the main character (Karen Nieto--an autistic savant known as "Miss Different Abilities") is sitting down with you telling you her life story... it's raw, pulls at the heartstrings and is a book that's hard to put down.  Well, there are various times in the book when Karen needs a break to get a "glass of water"... when I, too, found myself doing the same. :) 

Throughout the book, I marked pages because I found myself nodding in agreement with what was written... connecting to ideas and intrigued by the way the main character viewed the world and her place in it.   A few of my favorites are: 

"I also very much like the names of colors, which are things that are almost not things.  I mean, colors are things that just barely exist.  Between being and not being, they are like miracles."

"The standard human world: a bubble where nothing that isn't human is really seen or heard, where only what's human matters and everything else is either background, or merchandise, or food."

"About a text written by a Mr. Aristotle that claimed that humans are unique because they have souls, feelings, and intelligence, while other animals are complex robots with no souls, minds, reasoning, or ability to suffer or feel, I wrote 1 word: Idiotic." 

To say that I loved Me, Who Dove Into the Heart of the World would be a complete understatement.   For me, the true test of a good book is if I become emotionally enthralled in the book.  While reading, I had moments where I was confused, happy, sad, laughing out loud, and at times I even found myself frustrated.  Yes, this book was playing like a movie for me... the characters came to life and I totally got into this book so much that I had to remind myself that it was fiction.  I absolutely adored the book and now that I'm done reading it, I can't wait to pass it on to the avid readers in my life :)

Want to know a little more about the book?  Here's the description from the publisher:

Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World (on-sale 8/7) is an extraordinary fiction debut by the award winning Mexican playwright, journalist and poet Sabina Berman. It’s an incredible story that explores how we live, what we eat, and the way we connect with others.

Karen Nieto grew up as a feral child, left alone to wander the beach near her family’s failing tuna cannery. But when her aunt Isabelle comes to Mexico to take over the familybusiness, she discovers a real girl amidst the squalor. Karen, an autistic savant, soon finds freedom not only in the love of her aunt, but also swimming amongst the creatures of the sea. Karen is defined by the things she can’t do until her gifts with animals are finally put to use to save the fishery: Consolation Tuna will be the first humane tuna fishery on the planet. Greenpeace approves, fame and fortune follow, and Karen is swept on a global journey that shows how our lives can defy even our own wildest expectations.

Thank you to Henry Holt publishing for sending me a copy of Me, Who Dove Into the Heart of the World