Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado’s “Magic Made in Mexico” is magical indeed.
I’m not alone in my opinion. Favorable reviews abound.
Further evidence of the book’s popularity: Reader demand has forced the publisher to re-ink the presses. “Magic Made in Mexico” is officially in its second printing. It’s also now available on Kindle.
“Magic Made in Mexico” works on a number of levels.
I bought it because I wanted to gain insight into the city’s culture and the nuances of its society. Mérida is also a stage for an epic love story, and for a series of life lessons about virtues like love, patience and faith — and the power to adapt.
If it were fiction, the story would be implausible, but it’s true, which makes this narrative all the more romantic. The story begins more than 35 years ago when Joanna, an adventurous young tour guide from Canada, encounters a handsome young man and subsequently takes a tremendous leap of faith. They marry, and she finds herself with a new life and a new family, all in pre-NAFTA (pre-Costco, pre-Sears…) Mérida. What follows are stories of happiness, tragedy and triumph.
But the book also feels like a gift to any English-speaking person considering a move to Mérida. Seeing late-20th century social history of the city through her eyes is enlightening. (She is rightly described as “an insider with an outsider’s perspective.”) The author’s life in Mérida has been a success because she possessed the virtues we were all taught since childhood. Here we see what we miss when we forget how to adapt, how to be patient, and how to listen. It comes down to this: We can embrace the positive, or we can let negativity overcome us. This book demonstrates what’s possible on the high road.
The book in its present incarnation first came out in December 2010 and I bought a copy right away. I appreciated its escapist quality as I paged through during a treacherous January snowstorm. I found the author’s blog and sent my accolades, and I’m happy to say our correspondence continues six months later.
Occasionally you will find comments written by her on this blog. I consider her remarks major contributions to the dialog here. This blog is partly the result of Joanna’s encouragement. Eventually, I had the pleasure of meeting the Rosados at a social event in Mérida. You know how sometimes you get to know someone from a distance, but it’s a big let down when you finally meet face-to-face? I’m relieved to tell you that’s not the case here. Her writing reflects an authentic voice — she is every bit the sweet and engaging person you’d come to expect.