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Oh Mexico!: Love and Adventure in Mexico City Paperback – 16 Jun 2011
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Every so often a young writer comes along who can open up a special place to us, and at the same time remind us all of the way we were. This is what Lucy Neville has done in this enchanting travel memoir. (Carmen Callil)
Delightful first book, the "chick-lit Bill Bryson"...Oh Mexico! fearlessly mixes it down on the streets of Mexico City, its sensibility is the antidote to every macho, exhaust-fogged travelogue that you have ever avoided reading. Somebody needs to cough up tributes to her skill at untangling Mexico's politics, her cool take on its religious cults and her gift for getting into scrapes, the most bizarre of which was being cast in Mexico's top soap opera. But she is best of all on the Mexican mentality. (Andrew Billen The Times)
Lucy takes you along as she deals with public transport, shopping, the endless doubles entendres of the local language (almost everything has a secondary, sexual connotation) male machismo, local politics, a hilariously fraught visit by her parents and sister and much more. Anybody who has ever been a 20-something traveller should enjoy this engaging read think Holy Cow in Mexico. (Bookseller and Publisher)
Part love story, part adventure, Oh Mexico! is a fun, light read, ideal for those eager to run away. (Courier Mail)
Mexico City is famous for decapitations and gang violence. So announcing you are moving there would worry most parents - even Lucy s ``unshockable father Richard Neville, once tried for obscenity in the infamous Oz Boys case. Lucy s comic observation and eye for the bizarre results in a classic coming of age romantic travel memoir that mixes Almost French with Like Water for Chocolate. (Northside)
A vibrant account of life in Mexico. It is a typical tale of an adventurous twentysomething...excellent when describing the challenge of finding a place to live, being overwhelmed by the sex appeal of her handsome flatmate, responding spontaneously to new and alien experiences, finding a job teaching English to a group of women she calls the "First Wives' Breakfast Club", struggling with the complexities of speaking a foreign language, unraveling the nuances of class in Mexican society and learning the subtleties and texture of daily life in Mexico City. The combination of adventure and romance is charming and informative. Her parents' arrival just as she is disentangling herself from love affairs with two men adds a frisson of clandestine chaos. Neville is a talented writer whose easy, warm style and very "non-chick lit" calmness in the presence of glamorous men makes for an entertaining account of two years and two loves in a city little known to many. (Sydney Morning Herald)
At its very best, travel writing has the capacity to illuminate not only the heart of a traveller but of a country, too. The page-turning journey that is Oh Mexico! manages to do both things with considerable skill and frequent hilarity...Neville has the canny reserve of a born story teller ,capturing the dissonances as well as the melodies of expatriate life in a country like no other. (Weekend West)
Neville's first book is a travel memoir written with all the panache the pizazz, the characters and suspense of a good novel. (Adelaide Advertiser)
Set against the vibrant background of one of the world's most dangerous cities, Oh Mexico! is not only a classic travel memoir, but also contains great narrative and stuffed with amazing facts about this country's colourful history, lit up by warmth, wit, wisdom and pizzazz.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Lucy Neville is an Australian who goes to Mexico in order to submerge herself in the culture and improved her Spanish. Fairly quickly she gets a job teaching English in Mexico City and a flat with the self proclaimed `upper-class' Octavio. The book follows her as she settles into the city, eating the street food, explaining the finer intricacies and hierarchies of the street crime and relaxed attitudes towards time (and payment of wages) and also her eventual relationship and home life with a Mexican man.
I really enjoyed this book. It does deal with politics (very lightly) and yet avoids being heavy going; it's much more an appreciation of the people and life in Mexico and all its foibles. If you, like me, don't think you'd be brave enough to venture to Mexico alone then reading this book is the next best thing!
As with any move to a new, strange and foreign place it does take some time, after the initial excitement has worn off, to settle in and feel like this place could be home. To her surprise and distress, Lucy has way more problems with the language than she expected, which results in her going to language classes herself. She manages to find work teaching English although the language school she hitches herself to seems to have some trouble walking the line between in the red or in the black, resulting in Lucy taking on the private students. Along the way she meets a most interesting and diverse range of locals including the First Wives' Breakfast Club, the wealthy, very cosmopolitan Ofelia, fellow teacher Edgar who wants to improve his English, her delicious sounding flat mate Octavio, and his love rival Ricardo.
During her time in Mexico City Lucy does all she can to immerse herself in the life of the city, going out of her way to limit her contact with native English speakers. Its political life, the issues facing the working person, its organised corruption, its TV soap operas, its food, its festivals - Catholic and pagan: all of these get under her skin and draw her into the soul of the city and its inhabitants. By the end of her two years there she has attained her goal of thinking in and speaking Spanish, to such an extent that it was only when an American spoke English to her and she had to consciously process what he said that she realised how far she had come.
This is a great read, compulsory I would suggest for anyone contemplating a visit to South or Central America and just a little worried about all the bad stuff. Lucy is an excellent story teller, self deprecating, funny, humble, a traveller with eyes and heart wide open. The perfect travel companion.
Lucy's 'Oh, Mexico' is a fantastic read. She has a way of writing that is both simple and eloquent. She truly captures life in Mexico to the point that I feel that I am living there myself.
Mexico aside, this is a must read book for expats in any country who are experiencing a new culture and attempting to learn the language. She captures all the emotions that embody discovery and culture shock. Her frustration over learning the language, confusion over politics and culture, and feelings of loneliness, followed by acceptance, are similar to those I have experienced while spending years living abroad in Asia and Europe.
I have already bought several copies of this book for my expat friends to read and will recommend it to everyone who is interested in travel and Mexican culture. Her descriptions of different cities in Mexico, and even places within Mexico City make it an excellent travel resource.
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Most recent customer reviews
light hearted and amusing
very enjoyable read
escapism and arm chair travel t its best
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