Author: Ana Manwaring
Genre: Personal Memoir
Page Count: 338
Word Count: 82,750
Library of Congress Control Number: 2023937509
How did a forty-year-old bookkeeper come to leave her houseboat and business
to spend a year running rogue in Mexico?
This action-packed memoir/travelogue formed the real-life backdrop to what later became the successful JadeAnne Stone thriller series. Starting in the summer of 1991, Saints and Skeletons takes you through the back roads of Mexico, Belize, and the Peten region of northern Guatemala, where author, teacher and former journalist Manwaring camped out in ruins, sampled exotic foods, smoked loco weed atop pyramids, drank mescal out of the still, skinny dipped in Zipolite, found lost cities, and learned to make a killer margarita. In the process, she also experienced love, betrayal and loneliness. As doors opened and walls crumbled in her heart, skeletons tumbled out and, occasionally, saints appeared just when Manwaring needed them most.
This vivid memoir of [Manwaring’s] travels through Mexico. . .which began in the summer of 1991, traverses other cultures, capturing the rich flavors of foods, romance, and adventure as armchair readers follow in her footsteps.
More so than almost any other travelogue about Mexican experience, the nation comes to life as readers walk the gritty roads of countries steeped in the cultures and flavors of non-Western influences: From winding (and often uncertain) travels through the mountains of Michoacán to budding romances and relationships, the evocative flavors of Manwaring's life are compellingly, vividly portrayed:
"I liked meeting new people too, but not hot chicks with mota... No way I could compete with pretty, fluent Spanish speakers for Fernando’s attention. And I wanted it all. The bad angel on my shoulder whispered, “You’re paying for it all.” I maimed the cilantro and started toasting the quesadillas." The resulting "you are here" exploration is exceptionally enlightening in its revelations, encounters, and experiences, whether they be cultural misunderstandings or expressions of enlightenment:
"I failed to look up discutir because I was certain it meant “to discuss.” Why wouldn’t he want to discuss a path forward? The irony is, I didn’t learn the meaning of the word—argue—until I started writing this book."
Libraries and readers interested in a travelogue that explores relationships, food, and cultural perceptions, injecting adventure into every moment, will find Saints and Skeletons outstanding in its presentation, revelations, and attractions.
- Diane Donovan. Donovan's Literary Services