A review by serendipitysbooks
The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea

adventurous emotional informative inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


 The Hummingbird’s Daughter is the story of Teresita Urrea, a true historical figure sometimes known as Mexico’s Joan of Arc. She was the daughter of a wealthy ranch owner and a poor, young, indigenous ranch worker, grew up to be a folk healer and mystic, and was not shy about voicing her opposition to the actions and policies of both government and church. She was beloved by insurgents and, despite not being directly involved in their activities, was exiled by the Mexican government. She is also a relative of the author who combined family stories with years of research to create this engaging story of her life. The details of her life were fascinating - she came back to life at her own wake - and the author also did a great job depicting Mexican life in the late nineteenth century. The roles of class, ethnicity, misogyny and colonialism in Teresita’s life were obvious. I listened to the audiobook which was read by the author and which I recommend. It felt like listening to a master oral storyteller share a beloved family story which happened to also be a historical epic.