Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende
(Harper, 2014, 416 pages)
This life story was told through the eyes of a teenage girl named Maya. She was raised primarily by her paternal grandmother and grandfather, Nini and Popo, who lived in Berkley, California. Nini and her young son (Maya’s father) sought refuge in Canada where she met, fell in love, and married Popo. Years later, the son became an airline pilot who had a fling with a Swedish flight attendant (Maya’s mother). Maya’s mom was not cut out for parenting and returned to Sweden. The son returned home with young Maya and relied on Nini and Popo to rear her.
Maya grew into a teenager who defied authority. She detested school and abused alcohol and drugs. As a runaway she sank deeper and deeper into an abyss where she became a drug distributor and finally a heroin addict. After some time in jail her father helped pay for Maya to enter a rehabilitation program. Maya’s Nini decides to send her granddaughter to the Chilean island of Chiloe, the home of an old anthropologist friend. Maya begins to recover from her addictions and finds peace and love in this quaint Chiloe refuge only to find her life come full circle. Maya reveals a life of grief, abuse, and love in her wonderfully told notebook.