This, the tale of a young girl’s struggle to create meaning, is not a young girl’s book. It is a book for adults, a cautionary story about the chaos we weave and for which we must ultimately bear responsibility.
Its heroine, Pira, is the not-so-quiet centre at the book’s heart. What to say about Pira? In describing her, I’m driven to cliché: a tough shell guarding a tender, hidden heart—a heart that can be, and is, wounded. But Pira herself is no cliché. She is, in the author’s own words, ‘Ix, the jaguar girl!’
The plot embodies the same twists as the roads of Todos Santos, where it is impossible to guess what is coming around the next corner. Know only that the author’s sure hand will guide us through the most frightening of mountain passes. Some books have a straightforward plot that takes us decorously from beginning to end. This is not a decorous book: it twists, it turns, it flings us into the air, and cares little where we may land. But there is truth at its core. Simple, profound truth, if we take the time to discover it.
[A]ll children must reclaim the stolen parts of their lives. The glory is that it can indeed be done. That is the lesson Pira has come to teach us.