Bless Me, Ultima

Bless Me, Ultima

by Rudolfo Anaya

NOOK Book(eBook)

$7.99 View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now


This coming-of-age classic and the bestselling Chicano novel of all time follows a young boy as he questions his faith and beliefs -- now one of PBS's "100 Great American Reads."

Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima comes to stay with his family in New Mexico. She is a curandera, one who cures with herbs and magic. Under her wise wing, Tony will probe the family ties that bind and rend him, and he will discover himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past--a mythic legacy as palpable as the Catholicism of Latin America. And at each life turn there is Ultima, who delivered Tony into the world...and will nurture the birth of his soul.

The winner of the 2015 National Humanities Medal, Rudolfo Anaya is acclaimed as the father of Chicano literature in English and for his rich and compassionate writing about the Mexican-American experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455521326
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 06/01/2012
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 77,245
File size: 763 KB

About the Author

Rudolfo Anaya was the professor emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico until his retirement in 1993. He has won numerous literary awards: the Premio Quinto Sol National Chicano literary award, the 2007 Notable New Mexican Award, and the PEN Center USA West Award for Fiction for his novel Alburquerque. He is best loved for his classic bestseller Bless Me, Ultima. His other works include Zia Summer, Rio Grande Fall, Jalamanta, Tortuga, Heart of Aztlan, and The Anaya Reader. He has also written numerous short stories, essays, and children's books, including The Farolitos of Christmas and Maya's Children.

Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Bless Me Ultima (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 403 reviews.
theokester More than 1 year ago
I've intended to read Anaya since I read an excerpt of his work a couple of years back in a high level course about Spanish literature. We were discussing the genre of "magical realism." Bless Me, Ultima is an intriguing story told by a very interesting narrator, young Antonio Luna-Marez. The narrative style is smooth and clean. The story itself is compelling and thought provoking. My biggest "problem" with the book was that the 6-8 year old narrator felt a bit too old. I acknowledge that this is a case of a retrospective narrator looking back with a more mature eye. But still, its not distinguishable where the "mature" future narrator is superimposing his thoughts over those of his younger self. While I have met pensive and thoughtful 6 year olds who ask deep questions, I haven't met one that runs so deeply in such an intense and thorough thought process for a period of multiple years of self-discovery and exploration of life's heavier themes. Even then, Anaya's writing still is fresh and honest and I only found myself jarred a couple of times at the thought of Antonio's young age juxtaposed with his mature thoughts. The themes and plot of the story were well constructed and resulted in a well driven flow of the ~2 years of Antonio's life that we're exploring. The closely knit themes of family, religion, identity and purpose are presented to the reader as highly pressing themes that are bearing down on our narrator but without any imminent resolution. In fact, as time goes on, Antonio uncovers more questions and problems rather than finding new answers. Torn between his father's wild "wanderlust"-filled rancher family and his mother's grounded, earth-bound farming family, Antonio struggles to figure out how he can please each of his parents. This struggle is amplified by his mother's intense Catholicism and his father's free-spirit and Ultima's mysticism. Later in the book, yet another religious influence appears, closely related to Ultima's views, and yet still different. Antonio wants to honor his parents, to honor God, and to fulfill his destiny. Unfortunately, he is constantly conflicted when trying to honor one parent without disappointing the other and he is filled with more and more doubts the closer he gets to a possible understanding of God. His destiny seems to be constantly sliding away from him as he tries to unravel it. The ending of this book further exemplifies its genre of magical realism and while I can accept it for what it is, it left me a little unsettled. That's probably part of the purpose. This isn't a book that wants to answer life's deep questions for you. Rather, it wants to help you understand how to approach those questions and seek the answers on your own. This is a compelling and interesting look at one life caught between many alternating influences. Even if you don't live in a small farming/ranching pueblo in New Mexico, there is a good chance you can take some of the themes and questions from this book and apply them to your own life in some way. Everybody, in some form or another, has some sort of opposite influences pulling them in different directions each for good reasons and with great arguments. How we deal with those confusing moral conundrums is the core definition of our identity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i liked the book. it was challenging to read if you do not understand spanish. overall i recomend the book to everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the aspect of mystery and how it is told from the perspective of an innocent young boy who is forced to grow up as he witnesses and experiences life. Great symbolism and writing style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story book. If you're not Mexican American, it will be hard for you to relate to and understand this story. You have to have an OPEN mind to appreciate things that that are foreign to you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Bless Me, Ultima' is, overall, a good book. The descriptions of young Tony's dreams are vivid and beautiful, and this book contains loads of symbolism. However, its Roman Catholic characters believe almost grossly inaccurate theology. Since this book is based around religion, their 'bad' theology can be misleading and even angering at times. Also, this book does not really end, rather it comes to an abrupt stop. Despite this, it is still quite an intersting book, making it decent and worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story takes place in the 1940's in Guadalupe, New Mexico where a young boy named Antonio Marez is raised. He has a mental maturity far beyond his age and is always longing for truth. His family takes in a local elderly miracle worker named Ultima, and she builds a strong bond with Antonio as he takes on the many challenges of his life. He witnesses many injustices, murders, and the death of innocent people. He is also confused by conflicting beliefs such as his household Catholicism and witchcraft, and his parents both want different things for his future. As he encounters these dramatic situations, Ultima continually mentors him and encourages him to think for himself. This theme of individualistic thinking and beliefs is constantly being preached to Antonio as he struggles with the opposing beliefs. Antonio and Ultima continue to bond through various experiences together. One day they go to dispel ghosts from a house they believe were placed there by a man named Tenorio. After Ultima dispels the ghosts Tenorio¿s daughter becomes sick and Tenorio blames Ultima. Ultima sends Antonio to his uncle¿s farm to keep him safe where one day he is chased down by Tenorio. Antonio barely escapes alive, but Tenorio shoots Ultima¿s owl. The owl is a sole part of Ultima¿s being and Ultima soon dies. Through all his hardships Antonio is reminded by Ultima that he needs to take all of them into account and use them to form his beliefs. Personally, I enjoyed the way the book was written, and the theme of individualistic thinking, and it is hard to come up with criticism. If anything there was unnecessary detail Anaya could have left out. Overall, the book helped me see the big picture in my beliefs and that criticism should never keep me from sharing them. If you are looking for something inspirational in the spiritual sense, nothing beats Bless Me, Ultima.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Awesome book. The themes in this book are something we can all relate too. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to discover more about culture and fokelore. Two thumbs up !
Destiny Otero More than 1 year ago
Bless Me, Ultima Book Review In Rudolfo Anaya’s book Bless Me Ultima, there was a lot of culture and meaning in this book. Antonio Marez, which is the main character in this piece came from the llano which means flat in english. They are probably referencing it to the dry, flat land the llano really is. Antonio has three older brothers and two older sisters. His mother is a Luna, which is a family that comes from many farmers. She wishes Antonio to be a priest. She is a strong believer and is Catholic. Gabriel Marex is a vaquero is cowboy. Antonio being the youngest, has many things to overcome. He has to witness lots of deaths of loved ones and friends. He also was the first in the Luna family to get an education. He takes school very seriously. He mets a lot of new friends. The coming of age is a big theme in Bless Me Ultima. Ultima, which is a curandera, helps heal people. She plays a big part in Antonio’s life. She helps him find the meanings of life and what he is meant to be on the inside. I would not recommend this book if you did not know some spanish. A lot of this book has spanish in it and can be hard if you don’t know it. At times in the story, it can be a little slow, but it gets better later on. I suggest that you pay close attention to all the names and what part they play in the story because at times it can be confusing. Otherwise, I would highly recommend this book and watch the movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anaya’s novel “Bless Me, Ultima” is a coming of age piece and you can see it in this novel. One day when the protagonist, Antonio Marez, is seven a curandera, Ultima, goes to live at his house because she is very old and can’t live on her own and the family of Antonio decides to take her in. Ultima ends up going on many adventures with Antonio whether it’s curing a whole family, or picking herbs for her medicine, you really see a bond between Antonio and Ultima through these adventures. Through these adventures you can really see the coming of age from Antonio, like he has a hard time understanding what he’s going to do in the future. His mother wants him to become a priest but Antonio questions if his god is worth him worshiping. In this novel you can see many culture from his family whether it’s farming or just plain living somewhere. This novel is also very symbolic, representing how his family lives their lives or how harsh or how good the world can be, sometimes these symbols can relate to your family culture or just how you live your life. The loss of innocence can relate to many people in this world including me, like him witnessing deaths or many other things that you can relate to.
Elijah Meighan More than 1 year ago
“Bless Me Ultima” Why Bless Me? “Bless Me Ultima” written by Rudolfo Anaya is about a boy named Antonio is trying to find his way through the help of Ultima’s wisdom. “Bless Me Ultima” was banned for its content. Coming of age is a very strong theme in “Bless Me Ultima” and it’s something Antonio struggles with. Antonio must choose a path of becoming a priest or becoming a farmer. Antonio struggles to choose what he wants to be and finds help with Ultima. Ultima is the only person who would let Antonio be himself. The book was banned for its profanity, paganism, Anaya use of magic, violence, sexual content, in reference towards God, satanism, and anti-catholic. Yes, the book is for a more mature audience but in my opinion, the book was boring. I like books with action, and yes the book did have some action to it but it was either explained too much or it was too short. Most of the chapters were dull to me because I don’t like the book that over-explains things, I like books that have mystery and action to it. But don't take my word for it read the book you and you see if you like it or not. You see if you agree with me are you have a different opinion. And remember this isn’t a book you should read to your five-year-old brother or sister.
Lit_Lizard More than 1 year ago
Rudolfo Anaya’s, Bless Me, Ultima, is a novel exploring the impacts of many traumatic events forced upon the fragile mind of Antonio Marez. From death, betrayal, and violence, Antonio finds comfort in a curandera who makes her way to Antonio's small town on the llano.Working alongside Ultima, the curandera, he learns to make use of what he has. This novel explores the themes of, Coming of Age, Overcoming Obstacles, and Exploring New Ideas. As the story nears the climax, Antonio is forced to make risky decisions and witness questionable events that are capable of changing a person's outlook on life. Antonio grows more wise as he ages, and uses the knowledge to his advantage. As Antonio grows older he starts questioning his faith in God, which plays a major role in the development of the story. In conclusion, Bless Me, Ultima, is a rollercoaster of emotion that will intrigue readers with an interest in Latin culture and novels with a focus on a developing protagonist.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book a few years ago on a recommendation...glad I bought it because I LOVED IT. Couldn't put it down, in fact I read it twice & it even inspired me to write a piece. The ending made me cry like a baby. Complex book, not for everyone, not all will grasp it's depth.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have read this year. It is suspenseful and funny. It kept me on the edge of my seat ever since I began reading it. It would have gotten four stars had it not been for the abundance of vulgar language used in it. Other than that it was awesome.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was a bit unsatisfied with this novel. I had never read anything from a Chicano author until this. It was an interesting view on Catholicism, though. I thought it was quite curious that the mother is a devout Catholic, and yet she houses a curendera. I am not familiar with Catholicism, but I would not think that this would be something completely 'right' in the eyes of the church. I was, however, enthralled with Anaya's incredible use of imagery. I could actually see what he was describing to me. I rarely see this anymore, so it was a breath of fresh air to see an author that actually knows how to use literary devices. I would recommend this book, but, if you are not familiar with espanol you may have a problem understanding parts of it. Most of the conversations between the family members are written in spanish, and it made it very interesting to read.
elvia123_ More than 1 year ago
Headline:The book Bless Me, Ultima was good. TAG: In Anaya’s novel Bless Me ,Ultima, a main character named Antonio was barely six years old.His grandmother, Ultima came to stay over the summer, she was a curandera.She cured those who were in a bad situation.There was ups and downs in the novel, with Ultima clearing them up.Antonio facing new challenges and becoming a mature and innocent kid, with bad and evil.Antonio was in honor of God and his parents wanted the best for him and his siblings.Also with Ultima’s owl symbolizing her soul and signs through the novel.Antonio spending quality time with Ultima and learning new things everyday.My opinion about this book was that it’s a very unique book and it’s very interesting while you keep reading through it.I recommend this book to anyone who is planning to get it.This book shows you many lessons in life and symbolizes many things in life as well, for example the innocence and maturity of growing up and to fight through anything coming your way.This novel encourages you to keep on reading while the intensity keeps on going further and further.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Headline: Great, interesting book This book gets very interesting the more you read it. Antonio is a 6-year old boy who witnesses many things that he shouldn’t have. His father is a cowboy who has a dream that he wants Antonio and his brothers to do. His mother is religious and wants Antonio to do something else. Antonio has to choose his own way of life: the way of the of his father, the way of his mother, or his own way of life. There is a dark evil in this man named Tenorio Trementina. His 3 daughters do things that are also evil like Tenorio. As more things happen to Tenorio’s daughters, he becomes more evil. Ultima, an old wise woman, comes to live with Antonio and his family. Antonio learns a lot about Ultima. They begin to have a really close relationship. He learns that Ultima can fight off evil and that her owl can also fight off evil. Ultima’s owl is something very special to Ultima. Antonio questions a lot of things and is a very curious kid. Reading this book will let you explore the thoughts going through Antonio’s mind. I like this book because Antonio is a curious kid. Since Antonio is a curious kid, he explores more, asks a lot of questions, and sees more action. If you read this book, you can explore the thoughts of Antonio.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bless Me, Ultima Book Review Headline: Antonio’s Adventures What title “Bless Me, Ultima” demonstrates the last words Antonio said to Ultima. In my opinion thought there could of been a greater ending. The whole story was basically about Antonio and his adventures. How much he witnessed as a child, even though he was so young he gained a lot of maturity. Even though as a child he faced difficulties he always had help from Ultima.What I did not find intriguing in the is how the author started skipping through important scenes. At the age of seven Antonio had a great adventure and grew more knowledge on what there is outside his homeland. My thoughts on the book would be negative because when the author would be explaining the scenes in the book he would go off topic and start talking about a new subject in the story.For example when somebody would die it would not be showing at all he wasn't at all traumatized. The author would just continue the story like nothing happen the topic of the murder would not be mentioned again. How one of Antonio’s closest death died the author did not explain much on how that affected Antonio.
Forknife More than 1 year ago
A Coming Of Age Piece By Rudolfo Anaya Bless Me Ultima is about a kid named Antonio Marez who struggles with his life decisions. Then one day Ultima the lady that helped deliver him comes to live with Antonio and his family. Antonio lives in New Mexico during the end of World War 2, the main characters are Antonio and Ultima and her owl. A important conflict in the story is Antonio's struggle against himself and against evil. One theme of Bless Me Ultima is losing your innocence and struggling to grow up in life as well as becoming strong. Personally I disliked Bless Me Ultima because the book can be really long at times. And that sometimes it seems like the books goes on forever and some chapters can be quite boring to read. There can be some interesting parts in the story but it plays to much on religion and coming of age too much. This book is better than other books but being really long and time consuming is a very negative attribute to Bless Me Ultima. Also the text itself is very small and can be hard to read at times. Another thing is all the chapter are in spanish, so anyone that can’t count past ten in spanish is gonna have a bad time trying to figure out what chapter they are on. Overall the idea of the book is ok but I would not recommend it.
Hailie Moore More than 1 year ago
Bless Me Ultima Book review So recently I read the 1972’s book Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya. This coming of age piece is probably the most religiously and culturally different novel i’ve ever read before. The story focuses on the character Antonio Marez, a 7 year old boy living in small town in New Mexico during WW 2. He lives with his mother, father and 2 sisters until a new visitor comes to stay on her final days, a curandera named Ultima. Her job is collecting herbs and medicines to help the sick. Over the course of this book Tony becomes really bonded with Ultima and all the wisdom she shares. This novel really focuses on Tony’s inner struggles like if he should follow his mother's plans or do what Tony’s dad’s side of the family has done. He also struggles with having so many unanswered questions religiously and non-religiously. Struggles with what he witness (which a 7 year old should never witness) and the frightening dreams he has. The major themes in this novel, if you may have quested, is religion, growing up and good versus evil. Now to my review; when is comes to the book,even though the book has many themes, it knows what it is. The book is so poetic and meaningful in every word. It’s also funny at times but this book is really slow in the beginning. I wasn’t hooked. This is a result of there being no conflict at first. It takes many chapters to finally introduce to the reader an actual threat, which made the book boring to me. And even though we as a reader learn so much about each character in the story, especially Tony, I was never emotionally connected to any of them, I couldn’t relate to them. But overall, Bless Me Ultima is a novel I would recommend to the reader who is okay with a very cultural and religiously oriented book with not a lot of, physical action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bless Me, Ultima (Summary) Overall Book Review In Rudolfo Anaya’s novel, Bless Me, Ultima, Antonio, the main character is 7 years old and Ultima, the cudurada, lived with him and his family. As the time goes by Antonio spends most of his time with Ultima, she teaches him about nature and how it speaks to you if you listen closely and how you should treat plants when you use them for good reasons. Antonio has witness a few deaths throughout the story and he realized how the world around him is much more different and violent that he thought, and this represents one of the themes coming of age/loss of innocence. This represents theme because as Antonio witnesses death he realized how men deal with conflicts and this sparks up questions from Antonio about the world and he losses his innocence because a kid at that age shouldn't witness something like that. As Antonio grows older he realizes that he either has to become a priest/farmer, which is his mother’s wish, or a vaquero, which is his father’s wish. Antonio struggles with his identity because he doesn’t know who to please, his mother or his father. Antonio hopes as he begins catechism God will help him find his identity. Overall I enjoyed this book and I like how the book added in religion because I can personally make a connection to the religious beliefs in my family/culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this book worth reading? Bless me Ultima I highly suggest reading this book and watching movie after reading the book. Many event happen in this book you get to witness Antonio a 7 year old boy, grow up in mexico in the 1940’s and see him growing up with his 3 sister and his older brothers fighting in the war, Antonio is learning new experiences while growing up during this time. Antonios family lives a farm with a beautiful river. Some of the main themes in this novel is family a religion with is very important the his family, and coming of age for Antonio. As you read through this book you see how they lived their lives and to see what their culture is like. Then you read through the story antonio faces through some challenges from him losing his innocence by seeing 4 death at 7 years and reading how Antonio is now seeing all of the ugly that word had to offer. Then Ultima comes to live with antonio’s family for the rest of her day here on earth. Ultima help Antonio with giving him advice helping antonio along the way. With ultimas help antonio is getting lot of advice from this very wise woman
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nathalie Rodriguez Ms. Ortiz English l-H, Period 4 21 September, 2017 Growing up In New Mexico Anaya’s “Bless Me Ultima” this book is an example to my point of view in life. Having a life like antonio was tough for him. Imagine having to go through all those family problems, and everything else he went through. It's unbelieveable Antonio putting his own life at risk. Being able to trust someone with your life is not so easy but, the unique relationship between Antonio and Ultima was the most endearing to me and made me think of my own grandmothers. Bless Me Ultima inspires people to do everything they can for their family. The bond Antonio and her family have is amazing family should be the most important thing in your life, and in this book family is real to them, it's encouraging how much they all love each other and how they always have eachothers back. I always heard references to this book growing up, but never was tempted to read it. Finally I read it, it brings my own childhood closer to me and reminds me of the sense of self in a small community like the one in bless me ultima. Being as close to you grandmother like antonio was, is something you will never forget, having the intention of sharing your life with your grandma is memorable. Bless Me Ultima does not compare to any other book I've read. I thought this book would be about life in new mexico but it is a unique “coming of age” story that discusses the familiar themes of the battle between evil and good, young and old, traditions and modernity about their life. I was sad how the story ended.
Kathleene Gonzales More than 1 year ago
In Rudolfo Anaya's Novel "Bless Me Ultima" it sends messages that you can feel going down your spine and when we think back to our lives we don't seem that hurt or missing. Bless Me Ultima told me a story i cant describe but i can feel what a young boy named Antonio feels and all the anger he must of had. The devastation goes under my skin. I would like to think as if I were there. Even though the novel didn't make complete sense because of the Age jumping you can still tell that Antonio grew fast because of it. Thought this piece was provoking and smooth I then realised my thoughts on life were far more easy than what I was in the beginning. Poor and Naive Antonio Marez was but then the main essential themes of loss of innocence and coming of age he undergoes the obstacles of like when having vivid dreams of his birth. Ultima changed his life in many ways. Good is always better than evil.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
COULD DO BETTER The novel Bless Me Ultima is fairly decent to my liking. I think it’s basic like every other story based on good vs. evil. If you’re into poetry and flowery language to describe vigorous details then this is the book for you. This book has murder, revenge, redemption, witchcraft and school bullies in it yet it was able to pretty much bore me the entire time. The protagonist is Antonio Marez a 7 year who is trying to chose the right path to his destiny. One night Antonio had a dream where he was born there was a rivalry between his mom and dad’s family to become a priest or vaquero. I wonder which one he chooses? He is a young boy trying to find his path before being an adult. One day an old lady named Ultima shows up and lives with Antonio’s family for quite sometime but everyone thinks she is a witch. Let’s not get into much detail but yeah. I don’t recommend this story there wasn’t thrill to but, it’s okay to ready if you're bored and have a lot of time to spare. Hopefully you found something exciting in the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bless Me Ultima, Should You Read It? Bless Me, Ultima is a interesting coming of age piece written by Rudolfo Anaya. It showcases loss of innocence in a young boy as he embarks on many adventures. The main character, Antonio, is starting to go to school and will have to choose what career he wants to follow. His father and mother have conflicting ideas for what their son should be. One of them wants him to be a farmer while the other wants him to become a priest. When Ultima, an elderly curandera, visits his family, Antonio and her are connected is some way which is very clear because Ultima is always watching over and caring for Antonio. I would recommend this book to everyone because it’s a good book. At times you can be reading something and you'll get bored because they maybe stretch out a simple task to 1 or 2 pages but usually it leads up to something good. Also, this book references religion and mentions multiple gods so if you're religion is very strict, I wouldn't recommend this book. Overall this coming of age piece is a great interesting book to read before bed or in your freetime because you can keep reading without even realizing it's been half an hour.