Maria Juana's Gift by T. Lloyd Winetsky - BOOK REVIEW/GIVEAWAY - US/CAN thru 12/20

12/06/2011 05:48:00 PM

Maria Juana's Gift by T. Lloyd Winetsky
Title:  Maria Juana's Gift
Author:  T. Lloyd Winetsky
Publisher:   Booklocker, Inc.
Release Date:  March 31, 2011
Paperback, 300 pages
ISBN 10:     1609107470
ISBN 13:  9781609107475
The Book Depository / Amazon

Goodreads description:

In his latest novel, MARIA JUANA'S GIFT, T. Lloyd Winetsky explores the frustration and heartbreak of preventable human medical error. Set during America's Bicentennial, it is the story of a young teaching couple fighting for the survival of their infant daughter born in a hospital on the Arizona-Mexico border. The novel's theme approaches the core of inhumanity but also celebrates a "gift" the couple will treasure for the rest of their lives.

My Take: 

As an advocate for social justice, the premise of this novel hooked me.  We have a young couple living in a poor, barren city on the border of Arizona and Mexico during the 1970's who are dedicated to helping immigrant workers and their children.

At the beginning of the book, they are in the hospital with their newborn daughter Emma, and Jake is frantic to get the doctor to pay attention to the fact that something is wrong with her.  Maria Juana, who seems to be a nurse's aide at the small hospital, confirms the couple's fear that something is wrong with the baby.  Her "gift" is her affinity with the children under her care.

There is a shift back to how Jake and Tina met, married, and ended up in a forsaken outpost.  We meet a lot of the neighbors and politicians and read of how migrant workers are scorned, including an incident that ends in the deportation of the parents of one of Jake's students.  Many children are mistakenly pigeonholed into special education classes in spite of their intelligence.

As Jake fights to get someone .. anyone ... to pay attention to his pleas for help for his daughter, the reader feels the frustration of a desperate father stuck in a no-man's land where politics seems more important than the Hippocratic oath.

Although the premise and the story is intriguing, I felt that the execution was flawed in many ways.  The beginning is rather confusing, and there are many editing errors, i.e. "taught" rather than "taut", "imbedded" rather than "embedded", and lots of unnecessary italics.  The romance between Jake and Tina feels rushed and the inclusion of quite a bit of minutiae bogs the reader down here and there.  To be fair, the other reviews I've read have been quite a bit more complimentary, so I emphasize that this is my own opinion.

In spite of this, the author tells a convincing story that made this reader curious and kept me reading.

Writing:  2.5 out of 5 stars
Plot:   3.5 out of 5 stars
Characters:  2.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion:   2 out 5 stars

BOOK RATING:   2.6 out of 5 stars

BLOGGERS:  Have you reviewed this book? If so, please feel free to leave a link to your review in the comments section; I will also add your link to the body of my review.

Author website

BUY IT:  At Amazon, The Book Depository and through other on-and-off-line booksellers.


Elaine from PR by the Book was kind enough to offer one of my readers from the US/CAN a chance to win a copy for themselves!


Comment:  Let me know in the comments what your pet social justice cause is! Please remember to include your email address kind of like this: user(at)domain(dot)com or something similar to prevent spambots from picking your email address up.

Extra entries:

You can get an extra entry for following Knitting and Sundries (email/Twitter/GFC/RSS) - TWO extra entries if you are an old follower or subscriber.

You can also get an extra entry for entering any other current giveaway - one comment for each giveaway you entered.

Make a separate comment for each entry and include your follower name or the email address you subscribe under.

Eligibility:  US/CAN through 12/20/2011

 Disclosure:  I  received a  complimentary copy of this title from PR by the Book to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received and I was not required to post a positive review.

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  1. We need more ways to protect our children from physical abuse and sexual crimes. They have gotten way out of hand lately.
    Lets protect our future- our children.
    amhengst at verizon dot net

  2. old email subscriber #1
    amhengst at verizon dot net

  3. already subscribe #2
    amhengst at verizon dot net

  4. GFC follower-amhengst #1
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  5. GFC follower=amhengst #2
    amhengst at verizon dot net

  6. entered the Book Lovers Holiday giveaway
    amhengst at verizon dot net

  7. Mine is Child Poverty and Neglect. I see so much around me and as a teacher I do what I can to help.

  8. I follow you on GFC deanna_boocock

  9. My pet social justice issue is student drop outs. I worked for Head Start and enjoyed hearing from families whose children finished school because of the support and family literacy/parenting education we gave them.
    GFC: Sophia Rose

  10. I entered 12 Days of Christmas Hop.


  11. we need to give voices to those without them like children and animals. If they can not speak up we need to do it for them.
    helldog3 at

  12. Homelessness. We all need to work together and get this epidemic under control.

    GFC mamaelk
    twitter mamaelk1113
    mamaelk1113 at gmail dot com

    I also entered the 12 day days of christmas giveaway.

  13. I think we need more programs to help the homeless. There are way to many people who have nowhere to go, I would really like to see that change.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  14. Old GFC follower as seriousreader #1

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  15. Old GFC follower as seriousreader #2

    seriousreader at live dot com

  16. I entered the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop.

    seriousreader at live dot com


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