TAMING OF THE SHREW: Magical realism meets reality
Bailey Shrewsbury is a sophomore journalism major and writes "Taming of the Shrew" for the Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Bailey at email@example.com.
"When the Moon was Ours" by Anna-Marie McLemore is a story about a girl who came from a water tower and a boy struggling to be who he is. This story is set in a world of magical realism, where roses grow out of Miel’s wrist and the Bonner girls can make any boy fall in love with them. The story follows Miel and Sam closely — their struggles with finding themselves, finding each other and forgiving their past.
There’s small, intimate details that make this story even more magical than it was to begin with. After Miel came out of the water tower, the hem of her dress or skirt is always wet. Each rose that grows from her wrist is a different color and size, depending on her mood and who caused it to grow.
The rich cultures brought into this book are such a treat. Samir is from Pakistan and Miel, along with most of the town, is Mexican. The cultures are woven seamlessly into the plot and bring even more magic to this unforgettable tale. It took a while to grasp what exactly was going on in this story, but when I did, I couldn’t put it down.
This is a very diverse story, including LGBT themes, a transgender boy and rich, diverse cultures. This doesn’t seem like a story where the author is throwing in diversity to call their book a diverse book. It is part of the story and it truly wouldn’t be as magical without it.
This book isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, however. It’s an acquired taste, with rich descriptions and plenty of magic. In magic realism, magic is all around and it belongs. It can be jarring to read something set in a world identical to ours, where people don’t blink an eye at magic. It’s easy to read fantasy or high fantasy, where the worlds have only a nod of our world mixed in.
McLemore is known for her breathtaking debut, "The Weight of Feathers." Her books have a strong sense of magic and culture, aided by her Mexican-American heritage. She brings a perspective to these stories only someone who lived in these diverse cultures could truly give.