The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry is a beautifully told story of a young teenage girl named Rhonda. Largely ignored by her father and drugged-up mother, Rhonda’s only real friend is the family’s Hispanic gardener, Jesus.
Jesus is deported back to Mexico by immigration officials and Rhonda’s mother commits suicide. Utterly lost, Rhonda runs away to Mexico to find Jesus. To aid her in her quest, she “becomes” a boy named Angel, travels throughout Mexico and has a variety of interesting adventures. Denying her female sexuality is her driving force.
The Earthquake Machine is a very unique and compelling book from which I learned a great deal about Mexico and its culture. I admire Rhonda/Angel, who is a sad but believable creature. Her courage and daring and coming-of-age tale is definitely worth a read.