Thursday, March 13, 2008

[Book Review] ZORRO by Isabelle Allende


Jesse Pool reviews ZORRO by Isabelle Allende (Harper Collins, 2005)

Zorro is a name that nearly everyone knows. But how much do you actually know about the swashbuckling hero? Zorro tells the story of how Diego de la Vega’s parents—a Spanish war hero and a Shoshone Indian war chief—meet during an attack on a Spanish mission: Diego’s father defending the mission from attack and Diego’s mother leading the assault. From there, we follow Diego’s life as he grows up, eventually becoming the familiar masked hero known as Zorro.

Raised between two cultures, Diego learns about honor, justice, respect, dignity and courage. His father raises him to be a Spanish gentleman and his Shoshone mother and grandmother secretly teach him and his adopted brother Bernardo Indian virtues as well. By fifteen, Diego has learned to fence and has had a vision quest where he finds his spirit guide—the zorro, which is Spanish for fox. After several adventures in his homeland, Diego and Bernardo set sail for Spain so that Diego may get a quality education. It is in Spain that Diego’s transformation into Zorro begins. He picks up several mentors, joins a secret society dedicated to justice, and encounters his arch nemesis, Rafael Moncada.

By the end of the book, we see Diego transformed from the boy he was in the beginning to the hero many people are familiar with today. Along the way, he’s outwitted or out-fought bullies, soldiers, sailors, pirates, gypsies, gamblers, and others, often picking up their tricks and skills. Also, no swashbuckling story would be complete without a tragic romance or two, and this one does not disappoint.

Jesse Pool, Highland Branch Library

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I had no idea what ZORRO meant all those times I watched the movies and/or television shows. Wow, I learn something new every day! Thanks, Jesse!
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