This article is from the December 2004 - January 2005 The Mexico File newsletter.
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The Salvation of La Purisíma
By T.M. Spooner. ISBN: 0-915745-55-0. Floricanto Press. 

by David Simmonds 

Narrated by anthropology student, Paul Westin, this serious story of fiction grabs the reader instantly in describing a conversation among a group of illegal immigrants who are discussing a recent border crossing where one of their friends has died. As we learn more about the lives and characters of the shadowy figures who have become common fixtures in the daily lives of many Americans, the barriers that we put between “them” and “us” begin to melt. Author Spooner has a keen eye and ear for Mexico, without glamorizing or admonishing the country or its people. His many years of Mexico travel to the less touristy destinations produce a work of unvarnished authenticity. 

The story takes us to the small, interior village of La Purísima, a town much like many in Mexico, where the only males who remain are young, old or infirm. The unexpected turns and plot twists, as well as the villager’s actions, keep the story fresh and forward-moving without resorting to demeaning caricatures. The human quest for survival and the techniques used to attain it are universal, on a large and small scale. We do what we have to do and then hope for the best. 

This book should be read by anyone who not only travels to Mexico, but to those who live north of the border in areas where much of the hard work is performed, in the shadows, by a group of people who are not so different from you or me. 

Todd Spooner is currently completing a story, his second novel, set along the shores of Lake Chapala, where he has been a frequent visitor. He lives near Chicago with his Mexican-born wife and two daughters.