Bitter Grounds

Bitter Grounds Winner of the American Book AwardSpanning the years between and this beautifully told epic is set in the heart of El Salvador where coffee plantations are the center of life for rich

  • Title: Bitter Grounds
  • Author: Sandra Benítez
  • ISBN: 9780312195410
  • Page: 228
  • Format: Paperback
  • Winner of the 1998 American Book AwardSpanning the years between 1932 and 1977, this beautifully told epic is set in the heart of El Salvador, where coffee plantations are the center of life for rich and poor alike Following three generations of the Prieto Clan and the wealthy family they work for, this is the story of mothers and daughters who live, love, and die for theWinner of the 1998 American Book AwardSpanning the years between 1932 and 1977, this beautifully told epic is set in the heart of El Salvador, where coffee plantations are the center of life for rich and poor alike Following three generations of the Prieto Clan and the wealthy family they work for, this is the story of mothers and daughters who live, love, and die for their passions.

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      228 Sandra Benítez
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      Posted by:Sandra Benítez
      Published :2018-08-13T21:59:04+00:00

    One thought on “Bitter Grounds”

    1. What I was expecting: A historical fiction novel following three decades of women and showing the world of coffee plantations, the workers struggles, and the history of El Salvador.What I got: A telenovela following three decades of "desperate housewives" and showing the world of extramarital affairs and who is having whose baby.The conclusion: I didn't love it. In all fairness, the beginning was great. I was thoroughly enjoying the life and stuggles of Mercedes. But when Mercedes died, it all b [...]

    2. Argh! I need a book from El Salvador, but I just can't do it--the prose is so cliche-ridden and disjointed and all-around awful. Whoever called this "beautifully told" should be fired.

    3. i liked it mostly because it starts off RIGHT near me! west is the best, man. no, it was good for other reasons too. like the fact that showed the lives of the rich and the poor between the time of the matanza and the civil war in el sal. for example. i recommend. hell, i{m giving this book another star.

    4. I referred to Sandra Benitez's "Bitter Grounds" in conversation the other day as El Salvador's answer to "Gone with the Wind," and that is fairly accurate. This novel offered a rich, atmospheric escape and a cast of flawed but loveable and sympathetic characters among both the landed gentry class and the peasant class working as pickers on a coffee plantation. This is an epic saga that spans the lives of three generations of women, and though it was interesting, it at times reads like a soap ope [...]

    5. I didn't want this book to end. Loved it. I do have a personal connection to El Salvador having traveled there 5 times, including 3 mission awareness trips where we have visited the homes of the very (materially) poor and spent time with our sponsored children. Have also been to most of the places mentioned in the book which also helps this story resonate with me. (And have been to where Fr. Grande was murdered and to his burial site.) With all that aside, I know I would have loved this book any [...]

    6. I read Bitter Grounds shortly before taking a trip to El Salvador and am so glad I did. Having some knowledge of the history and upheavals that occurred in this small country gave me so much more appreciation regarding the lovely people and countryside. The civil war is still a very recent event, but thankfully now it appears to be a safe and beautiful country to visit. I loved the book and believe Sandra Benitez did a wonderful job developing the characters and events. I will definitely be read [...]

    7. Definitely worth reading--expanded my understanding of Central America and the underlying problems of class and great wealth disparity there.The author does a good job of creating believable characters on both sides of the great divide and evoking sympathy for all of them.

    8. Customer Review5.0 out of 5 starsAn epic novel that takes you on an epic journeyReviewed By Sherrie Miranda on September 12, 2017Format: Paperback|Verified PurchaseThis is an epic novel that tells the story of El Salvador's civil war. How it began in 1932 when the oligarchs sent soldiers to massacre Indians so they could steal their land. But it is told in a way that allows you to see the perspectives of all the characters, rich or poor.The story is heartbreaking at times, but also beautiful in [...]

    9. Started out as the historical fiction I thought it would be then got very slow and dull and kind of cheap romance like. Plowed through and finished it but wouldn't give is more than 3 stars.

    10. The book that I read is called Bitter Grounds. The author of the book is Sandra Benitez and the publication date is September 4, 1997. The story that she tells is fictional but based on real facts and events from El Salvador in the mid 1900’s. It focuses on explaining the life of a family who goes through many obstacles and challenges throughout their lives. There is lot’s of death, passion and love in the writing. I like to read books that have a lot of imagery and I felt like the author’ [...]

    11. This reminds me of a half dozen other books I've read with the same theme of women, families, and revolution. Maybe I'm just bored with that, but this one fell flat for me. The beginning was better than the middle, which was much better than the end. I hate the end. I did care about some of the characters and their soap opera lives but not enough. Mostly it just bounced around from drama to drama, and the women who started out complex and interesting became much less so. Darn.

    12. I loved this novel, I happened to meet a lady from El Salvador the day I started reading this book, she asked for the book when I was done, I loved discussing this story with her, meeting her made it more real and not just a story or novel I read, really enjoyed because thus really did happen in El Salvadoe.

    13. A dramatic and entertaining tale of three generations of women and the obstacles they face. Bitter Grounds is full of twists and turns with a variety of different personalities among the characters.

    14. This featured good storytelling and depicted important events in El Salvadorian history. It reminded me of themes from "In the Time of Butterflies" but was less character driven than that novel.

    15. This was one book where after I finished it, I had to remain in silence for quite a while. It is such a powerful testament to the story of the history of El Salvador told through an epic story of two families. It follows the Prieto family starting in the 1930's all the way through four generations who all serve the same aristocratic family who own a coffee plantation. What really is the forefront of this book is the story of the injustices that occur in El Salvador throughout half a century and [...]

    16. This was one book where after I finished it, I had to remain in silence for quite a while. It is such a powerful testament to the story of the history of El Salvador told through an epic story of two families. It follows the Prieto family starting in the 1930's all the way through four generations who all serve the same aristocratic family who own a coffee plantation. What really is the forefront of this book is the story of the injustices that occur in El Salvador throughout half a century and [...]

    17. Bitter grounds, coffee, a harvest many of us crave and one who many in the land of the Savior or El Salvador depend upon as Sandra Benitez tells us in her three generation saga, Bitter Grounds. This richly textured American Book Award Winner, is a sort of rich man, poor man, upstairs, downstairs, set in El Salvador from 1932 through 1977.It is a compelling read and Sandra Benitez grabs the reader and transports her to El Salvador with the first sentence:“The parakeets ascened in a rustling roa [...]

    18. Bitter Grounds is at once a reflection on the persistent nature of inequality, and how persistently people will fight against it, even if they are unsuccessful.In terms of writing, plot and character development, this book is not spectacular. Still, it has a lot going for it. Benitez uses fiction to capture 5 decades of intense social upheaval in El Salvador. Her choice of setting is fantastic and the story tries to depict inequality and movements for social change. The story begins with Mercede [...]

    19. Finished! Am I elated because now can go back to my Iles bok? Well,yes & no. I did like this book - mostly because I delighted in the author's wonderful use of DETAIL - but in general I did not care for her writing style. I found her first part too Hemingway-esque in its use of language and therefore sort of demeaning to the simple 'rustics' being discussed:"Me TarzanMe stupid"Also, I was offended in the way that Benitez just sprinkled in a taste of Magical Realism without really developing [...]

    20. Maybe if I stuck with this book a little longer I would actually like it, but I'm halfway through the second chapter and giving up. I don't usually read this type of fiction, but a book about mothers and daughters in El Salvador sounded very appealing. Unfortunately, the first mother depicted, Mercedes, is a flat caricature. Here's a couple of passages that turned me off:"To show respect, Mercedes had lowered her gaze, but the priest's words confused her. Goyo was not an unbeliever. Mercedes and [...]

    21. I don't know why it took me so long to read anything by Sandra Benitez. She lives in my area, and I've even been to an authors' panel at the Loft that included her. There are many Minnesota authors that I follow, such as Louise Erdrich, Faith Sullivan, William Kent Krueger, and Lorna Landvik. Benitez adds the voice of a Latin American. Born in El Salvador, she writes a saga of several intertwined families of peasants, servants, and wealthy landowners, through 3+ generations. Their careers, loves [...]

    22. I have liked all of Sandra Benitez' books. I've had the privilege of having her come to my book club for a discussion of her work and I have a particular affinity for her stories. She writes about what she knows and is genuine, engaging. A huge advantage of living in a larger metropolitan area which has a significant literary community, both writers and publishing houses, is having the opportunity to meet with authors. Their willingness to get together with their readers is mutually beneficial a [...]

    23. Much like Luis Alberto Urrea's The Hummingbird's Daughter and Sandra Cisneros' Caramelo, this book is epic in scope. Part of my own personal Latin reading streak, this book was second in my own personal series of books by and/or about Latino characters/people. In this book, Benitez beautifully tells the interrelated stories of characters connected to El Salvador's coffee plantations. I can't recommend this book enough. As a matter of fact, when I discovered that my beloved Hayward Library did no [...]

    24. I enjoyed this book. I learned a great deal about the events surrounding and leading up to the civil war in El Salvador, and I appreciate the author's balance in showing the lives and perspectives of both the rich and powerful, along with the poor and dispossessed. The story was compelling at many points, and the main characters were all fairly well developed, but I didn't feel a strong connection to any of the characters. Perhaps it's because the story is divided into three parts, with each par [...]

    25. This is one of my favorite books of all time. If I could give it six stars, I would. It's a beautifully written story about 3 generations of women from very different socioeconomic classes in El Salvador from the 1930s through the 1970s. The characters are complex and interesting, all of them flawed but likable and you can't help but feel for both sets of women, even though half of them come from a life of privilege. Anyone who is interested in Salvadorian history or Latin American history in ge [...]

    26. I think this author aspired to write the Dr. Zhivago of El Salvador, covering three generations of women in three families: two patrician families & one Indian family that became domestic servants for one of the patrician families. The coincidences that were forgiveable in Dr. Zhivago were somehow less so here, and this book presented a less nuanced view of revolutionary activity, becoming preachy near the end. But it was a good read nonetheless & revealed the sharp contrasts of life sty [...]

    27. Well--I loved this one too. After The Help I somehow chose 2 other books about women who clean for other women. This book takes place in El Salvador and is dramatic and violent and gripping. It's a generational novel which entwines the lives or the local Pipal Indians and the affluent class of coffee plantation owners. It was so rewarding to read the stories of women from different cultures and classes--a fascinating read!

    28. I would probably give this book 3.5 rating. It was told by an experienced author who grew up in El Salvador. It's a story of 3 generations of rich and poor. Heartaches by the truckload and strength to overcome. It had a little too much of the politics in that country, but it was still interesting. The maids for the rich reminded me of the book "the Help" (but totally a different time and place.)

    29. The beginning and end of the book documented the terrible turmoil in El Salvador in the 1930s and 1970s. What's sandwiched in the middle of the book, however, is more like a Latina novella -- who's sleeping with whom, especially. It reads like a romance novel, with the same kinds of conflicts written about in romance novels. The book might as well be 2 different books. I had all I could do to get the the part where she brings everything together at the end.

    30. 3.5⭐Me encantó el principio y me capturaron los capítulos finales. La parte entre el principio y el fin fue blah. Las relaciones amorosos no son así y menos en países con tendencias machistas, ese poco apego a la verdadera situación, le quita credibilidad (aunque sea una historia ficticia). Y María Mercedea con su deseo de construir un mejor país, terminó cometiendo "peores" crímenes que la gente que criticaba. Triste saber que movimientos sociales pueden arruinarse al tener extremist [...]

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