Mary Jane Miller’s latest book will delight the reader as well has help learn Spanish. The new book is a bi cultural adventure and true story set in Mexico on a Ranch outside of San Miguel de Allende in the early 70’s. The Gomez family accepted her inability to understand what for her was a new world with tolerance and love. The Ranch book is a chronicle of ridiculously simple situations live out by a girl from Boston who was completely unprepared.
Like Water for Chocolate, these twelve short stories are about romance and trust unfolding in the Mexican desert. As a young woman Mary Jane was introduced to one particular family when she spoke no Spanish and they spoke no English. Young readers will find this bi-cultural adventure packed with anthropological moments that come to life. Whether getting water or getting married, humans change little from one generation to the next. The young heart always loves beauty, awe, and surprise which are never out of date and forever worth remembering.
The Ranch describes a time in Mexico that is quickly being replaced because of our fast pace lifestyle and everything easily explained by google. Miller offers the reader a foreigners glimpse through humorous events and activities that were commonly found on any ranch around Mexico in the 70’s. This memoir describes in short narrative normal traditional ranch life and work that might even to day be found only in history books.
Mary Jane has told these crazy stories in Spanish and in English at parties and to strangers for forty years. The stories are written and formatted side by side for easy translation and learning from Spanish to English. The book is intended as a language learning tool for bi cultural discussion or cross cultural expat communities. The translations reveal an amusing way of remembering the obvious difference between cultures, and sometimes Miller’s comical determination to be understood. The short stories cross cultures and educate anyone learning to bridge two worlds. The subject matter stimulates great conversation regardless of learning the language, in Spanish or English.
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I have heard the on line materials available for intermediate Mexican Spanish are fairly slim. I hope to eventually to publish a three volume set with the same format as this first one. The Ranch describing life in Mexico, a story of the predictable and completely unexpected is a language learning tool written entirely in the simple past tense. Young readers as well as the older ones will enjoy these twelve short stories. Please consider ordering them in bulk for your school or travel club so everyone can share in more cross cultural understanding between neighbors.
A departure form her regular work in Iconography