1954: …And Now Miguel (a manual for herding sheep)

VERDICT: Trash

Sally’s Rating: 1/5

Joseph Krumgold’s …And Now Miguel is about a young boy who desperately wants to travel with his family when they go on their annual sheep drive up the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. He decides he must prove he is a man, despite being rejected time and time again, but his deepest wish may come true at an unexpected price.

To be honest, I had a hard time caring about this book. The novel follows a 12-year-old boy who works with sheep for a living, focusing on his family interactions and his dream to take the sheep up into the mountains. As a result, I learned more about sheepherding than I ever thought I would need to know.

Too much time was spent on the ins and outs of herding sheep. If you read this book, be prepared for multiple chapters on the art of rearing and shearing sheep. While I understand the main character’s livelihood and desires revolve around sheep, it’s hard for the book to gain any momentum when the book reads more as an éxpose on sheep herders than a coming of age novel.

This book did have a bit of substance, especially after Miguel gets his wish, but the subject matter was so boring, that I could hardly bother to care. The focus on family was felt throughout the book as Miguel comes of age and learns some harsh lessons. His growth was realistic and his envy was genuinely felt.

My rating may be a bit harsh, but this book truly put me to sleep every time I turned a page. The plot was uninteresting, the characters were boring, and the conflict made me not care. I would not recommend this book for people who are looking for a fast read, but if you are looking for a book that ponders some philosophical ideas in a coming of age narrative, this book may be for you.

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