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Dime quién soy by Julia Navarro
9 out of 10

This is my first book review and I recently finished Dime quién soy by Julia Navarro. It is a Spanish book and I experienced the epic tail through a Spanish audiobook. It is a massive book approx. 1000 pages, just under 30 hours of audio. I loved every minute.

The book revolves around Guillermo piecing together the long, riveting and extraordinary life of his great, great grandmother: Amelia Garayoa. The story begins in Madrid, Spain but shifts to countries all over the world such as Argentina, Russia and Germany. Guillermo embarks on an interesting ride as he follows his ancestor’s footsteps to discover her life and the events that marked it; the Spanish Civil War, World War II, Post-War Germany and the Cold war.

I am trying to read more Spanish books because of my heritage and loved this author and her writing style. I am a reader who enjoys appropiate, descriptive language littered amongst the pages, while this book focused more on the speed of the plot it did not lose credibility. It was easy to read and kept your attention.

Although a lot happens throughout her life, at no point did I think “Oh, yeah right! As if that happened!”. I think what I loved about it was not only did I feel like I was learning more about European history, with emphasis on the Spanish perspective, but that the story reflected the nature of iconic Spanish novellas.

Those who have ever watched Spanish novellas would know how dramatic, exaggerated, romantic and theatrical they can be. Although I don’t watch them, my family always has, therefore I have grown up with them. This novel, like The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, contained that rich, deep, complex, emotional and theatrical plot that kept me hooked. Just when you think the story ends… it doesn’t, and you’re glad it didn’t. I didn’t just feel like I was reading a great book about European disasters, but I also that I was reading a great Spanish novel.

While the story focuses on piecing together Amelia’s life it incorporates a multitude of characters. Not only do you get Amelia’s perspective and experiences from pre-WWII to post-WWII, but also from those she encounters. I felt like this enrichened the story further, it layered those historical decades with the attention to detail it deserved. It was a time of many stories not just one; hence, I enjoyed that Navarro included multiple characters with their own stories to create a web of history.

A well written, fast-paced and emotionally touching piece.

Ermisenda Alvarez

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