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Maya's Notebook [Paperback]

Isabel Allende
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 April 2013

From the author of ‘The House of Spirits’ – teenage Maya is in trouble. She’s an alcoholic, an addict and deeply involved with a criminal gang. How did it all go so wrong?

Abandoned by her parents as a baby, Maya has been brought up by her tough grandmother Nini and her gentle grandfather Popo.

At school though, teenage Maya finds herself drawn towards the wrong crowd. Before she knows what’s happened, Maya’s life has turned into one of drug addiction and crime.

Things go from bad to worse as Maya disappears into the criminal underworld. To save her from her old associates, Nini sends Maya to a remote island off the coast of Chile. Here she lives among a traditional rural people, the Chilote, who have remained untouched by the materialism of the modern world.

Basking in the warmth of the Chiloé community, Maya feels compelled to write her story and slowly she begins to heal. But can she move beyond her pain, find forgiveness and learn to live with the scars of the past?


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (23 April 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0007482876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007482870
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.4 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of nine novels, including Inès of My Soul, Daughter of Fortune, and Portrait in Sepia. She has also written a collection of stories, four memoirs, and a trilogy of children's novels. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages and have become bestsellers across four continents. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Isabel Allende lives in California.

Product Description

Review

Praise for Maya’s Notebook:

‘Another impressive feat with a dazzling cast and bold array of landscapes, woven together with the storytelling prowess that is Allende’s trademark.’ Daily Telegraph, 4 stars

‘Isabel Allende is a mistress storyteller… [her] capacity to surprise keeps her readers page-turning, as do her descriptions of character and place’ Independent

‘Maya is the lightest of narrative guises: wise beyond her 19 years but convincingly coltish.’ Guardian

‘An exciting read, well paced.’ Daily Express

About the Author

Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of eighteen books, including Inès of My Soul, Daughter of Fortune, and Portrait in Sepia. She has also written a collection of stories, four memoirs, and a trilogy of children's novels. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages and have become bestsellers across four continents. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Isabel Allende lives in California.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maya's Notebook 22 April 2013
By Susie B TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Maya Vidal is nineteen years old when this story begins; she has been brought up in California by her grandparents after her mother left her, as a baby, in their care before returning to her native Denmark. Maya's Chilean grandmother (referred to as: "my Nini" by Maya throughout the story) and her African American grandfather ("my Popo"), have given Maya a solid upbringing combining her grandmother's 'tough love' with her grandfather's more tender brand of love. However, when Maya is sixteen, her gentle giant of a grandfather dies and, feeling bereft and reeling from the shock of his loss, Maya falls in with a bad crowd and turns to alcohol, sex and criminal activity, which results in her being sent to a rehabilitation centre. After months spent in rehab, Maya escapes and, after several horrific escapades, she finds herself in Las Vegas as part of a criminal gang, and becomes involved in drug-dealing, addiction and prostitution, before being returned to the care of her grandmother. (No spoilers - we know right from the beginning of this novel the outline of Maya's background and of her present predicament). In order to ensure that Maya is kept away from bad influences, Maya's grandmother makes the decision to send her to live with Manuel Arias, a very old friend living on a remote island off Chile, who is still suffering from being tortured during General Pinochet's dictatorship. And it is whilst Maya is living with Manuel, and responding to the warmth of the islanders, that she begins the process of spiritual recovery and also where she starts her diary. And it is this diary which tells the reader the details of Maya's life on the island, interspersed with chapters where Maya puts some flesh on the bare bones of her story of drug addiction and desperation. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Allende 14 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback
Once again a beautifully written fiction book by Allende. Placed in the present a book that touches difficult aspects of our modern life such as absence of a unified family life, childhood prostitution, drugs.
If you are an Allende's fan like me you will love this book instantly. The writing is smooth and captivates you from the first few pages.
I have found other critics on this book too harsh, s to how can all this happen to one person, and so on. However, if you love fiction you have to let your imagination free and playful alongside Maya's story, forget about the practicalities. It is all about the journey, making you feel and think.
In Allende's books the story is somewhat always unified by the balance of the universe and at the end as if in an ancient greek tragedy, comes the salvation of the soul.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read 18 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Exciting, well writen book with a good story and a very real feeling that the author knows what shes talking about. Loved the characters and difficult to put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The latest Allende epic 20 Nov 2013
By Kay
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Quite hard hitting as it is in a contemporary setting, so although she is known for her emotive characters this is so relevant to todays youth.
Beautiful and evocative and full of love of course.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maya's Notebook 31 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great book. I had to keep reminding myself it wasn't a true story. So well written with great characters Thoroughly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 13 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very good story about something I knew nothing about! I like the way the author writes and this book keeps you absorbed in the plot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A DEPARTURE FOR ALLENDE - A BOON FOR READERS 5 May 2013
By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
In a departure from her praiseworthy novels that are usually set in the past Allende brings us to an often frightening present not only in narrative voice but in contemporary themes as well. The narrator is 19-year-old Maya Vidal who tells her story via the notebooks she keeps relating a coming of age marked by drugs, crime, prostitution, and the most horrific experiences imaginable.

Allende has noted that she has six grandchildren and realizes that she cannot protect them from all that young people are exposed to today, so she wrote this book for them. Would that all young ones would heed the lessons Maya has learned.

Deserted by her mother when she was an infant Maya has been raised by her paternal grandparents, Nini, and Popo. Through her notebook entries that shift between past and present we learn that she was especially close to Popo, an astronomy professor who doted on the child. He was her anchor and protector. Devastated by Popo's death when she is 16 Maya's life takes a decidedly downward turn. She begins by hanging out with the wrong kids, skipping school and experimenting with drugs. It's not too big a step to petty crimes.

After a drug related accident she is hospitalized and then sent to an Oregon rehabilitation facility. We would hope this would be a turning point in her life - one for the better. But that is not to be. The unrepentant Maya escapes from rehab only to find herself among the least desirable population of Las Vegas and then enmeshed in the underworld. Soon she must run not only from criminals but law enforcement as well. Her very life is in danger.

Thanks to Nini's intervention she finds herself on the way to her grandmother's native Chile and then further to a small village off the coast, Chiloe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gem 16 Jun 2014
By Dragon
Format:Paperback
A teenage girl confronts grief and copes badly. After going very far off the rails, she's rescued by kindly family and friends, and sent away to hide from the consequences of her mistakes on a remote island in Chiloe. The descriptions of the myths, landscapes and locals are wonderful and I was very impressed too by Allende's ability to get inside the mind of this girl. Troubled teens/twenties are an often-misunderstood group but she seemed like a real person and was good company despite her difficulties. And, in quite a short book, an amazing amount of interesting story happens - the past in Chile, the present in US, and the complex loves and troubles within a quirky family.

With Allende, there is real and potent goodness as well as sorrow. Redemption and renewal always seem possible. I love her for this.

Very much recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read...this book is a gem. one f the best
I thought this was such a marvelous book...Allendes best to date. I hope she writes a sequel to this .
Published 3 days ago by carol
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
As the story opens, Maya is almost twenty. Raised in California by her Chilean grandmother, the death of her grandfather has sent Maya off the rails. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Scholastica
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
This is the first Isabel Allende book that I’ve read. If her other books are all this good, I’m going to become a fan very quickly. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Celia Fife
5.0 out of 5 stars Diverse character's leading extraordinary lives
As usual Isobele Allende writing is gently enticing me to read furter into another story of fiction, with her diverse & an engaging style.
Published 2 months ago by barrie
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, vivid and a terrific story
"Isabel Allende is a mistress storyteller... her capacity to surprise keeps her readers page-turning". Thus writes the blurb on the back cover by the Independent. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Athinadi
5.0 out of 5 stars Allende does it again
Bought this as a gift for a former colleague and she seems to be enjoying it so far! Isabel Allende is a classic, you can hardly go wrong.
Published 3 months ago by MISS JENNIFER A BRYCE
5.0 out of 5 stars A place to hide
I loved the inter-mixing of different times in Maya's life. The young Maya, her struggle to survive the loss of her Popo, her lost time in Las Vagas, her refuge in Chiloe and the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by jjuninski
5.0 out of 5 stars a great story
This is a wonderful book... Full of history and anecdotes. I loved it from page one. This is so far the best book we have read for our newly founded book clu. Highly recommended!
Published 6 months ago by migdy
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine as a holiday read but lacked depth and complexity.
I found the book too neat in plot and the ending implausible and rather lazy. A young girl involved to that degree in the underworld drugs and prostitution racket will not pull out... Read more
Published 10 months ago by P. V. O'connor
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