Maya’s Notebook is a startling novel of suspense from New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende. This contemporary coming-of-age story centers upon Maya Vidal, a remarkable teenager abandoned by her parents. Maya grew up in a rambling old house in Berkeley with her grandmother Nini, whose formidable strength helped her build a new life after emigrating from Chile in 1973 with a young son, … Chile in 1973 with a young son, and her grandfather Popo, a gentle African-American astronomer.
When Popo dies, Maya goes off the rails. Along with a circle of girlfriends known as “the vampires,” she turns to drugs, alcohol, and petty crime–a downward spiral that eventually leads to Las Vegas and a dangerous underworld, with Maya caught between warring forces: a gang of assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol.
Her one chance for survival is Nini, who helps her escape to a remote island off the coast of Chile. In the care of her grandmother’s old friend, Manuel Arias, and surrounded by strange new acquaintances, Maya begins to record her story in her notebook, as she tries to make sense of her past and unravel the mysteries of her family and her own life.
I give Ms Allende a 5 star for her writing and descriptions of life, history,& culture of Chile. The book in staffer who wrote the description gets a 1 star. I couldn’t read the gruesome descriptions of aya’s tortured life on the streets, her rape, her addiction and prostitution. I could only skim enough to get the picture of why she was exiled to Chile. I honestly wouldn’t have chosen this book had I known of its dark side.
I loved this book. Could not wait to read each night.
Actually, I got bogged down in this book and did not finish it. A little difficult to follow the story line.
Started out great… went downhill fast. Did not finish it, unusual for me. I have a love/hate relationship with Ms.Allende’s novels
Not my favorite Allende read but Allende is a favorite author of mine.
Wonderful writing. Engaging story with great historical and geographical background woven in seamlessly.
She is an exceptional writer……I really love her books and have recommended them to others who find them as powerful as I do.. This book is just exceptional and the characters are just wonderful…well there are a few that are not really good people! Her books are historical………..so very interesting (for lack of a better word)
If I had a chance I would love to meet her! I give this book a ten!
I’m actually in the middle of this book right now butI feel I can review it without knowing how it will end because I’m loving it so much. The writing is so wonderful that I find it hard to put down. The characters are amazing and even though so far not much has happened in terms of “action” it is absolutely a great read. I feel this way about all of Allende’s books….I just get lost in them.
Allende ……..a GREAT writer
smarmy, soap opera
This is the story of a young girl named Maya. She has been hidden on an island off the coast of Chilie – called Chiloe – because there are several people after her. She had made some bad choices, fell in with the wrong crowd, and now she is on the run for her life.
Maya lived a very stable, spoiled life with two dotting grandparents who gave her everything she wanted. She was well loved, especially by her grandfather (whom she calls Popo). Her father, a pilot, and her mother – whom left when Maya was very young – didn’t give her much of their time, so her care fell to her grandparents.
When Maya’s Popo died, Maya became depressed and started to abuse drugs and alcohol. She fell into a bad crowd at her high school in Berkeley, California and started to cut school. She reached a low, and her father and grandmother intervened and got her into a a program. But before the program finished, Maya ran away and thus began 6 months of bad decisions.
She ended up in Las Vegas basically homeless and running drugs for a local drug lord. When the drug lord is murdered, Maya is sure she is next, so she disappeared. Returned to her grandparents by some good samaritans that found her at her lowest, Maya is put through a detoxification program and then sent to her grandmother’s home country of Chile to hide.
Maya’s grandmother called on some favors of old friends, and Maya finds herself trapped on a small island with no communication with the outside world. No one besides Manuel – the man who is hiding her – knows why she is on the island. As the months go by, Maya begins to heal both physcially and emotionally. She finds herself, and finds peace all thanks to the Chilean people who took her in.
The story goes back and forth between Maya living on the island and how she ended up there in the first place. In the end, Maya learns the truth about her family and is able to face her demons.
This was a pretty good book. The book does run without many chapters with the only breaks coming when a new season is starting. The book flows pretty well between past and present, but it could have been better. Sometimes she mentioned something, but wouldn’t explain it for a few pages, and you felt like you missed the set up. But that didn’t happen often enough for me to find it troubling.
I think the book held strong up until the ending which was a bit rushed. Again – nothing overly troubling, but the author wrapped up a large part of the story in the last 10 pages that I felt could have been drawn out a little better.
All in all, a good book. I would encourage you to try it. Above all – I learned a lot about the country of Chile and could easily picture the beautiful island of Chiloe from the author’s descriptions.
This book is so good that I’ve read it twice…..so far. It stays with you long after the ending. Isabel Allende has done it again.