A Cafecito Story By Julia Alvarez (Book Review by Jack Dvorak)

A Cafecito Story is a tale of Joe, a once hardworking farmboy, now a teacher. Though he once loved farming, the cost of living became more and more expensive, forcing Joe to seek out another way to make a living.  in this case teaching.  During a vacation, Joe meets Miguel, a coffee farmer in the Dominican Republic, and they spark a friendship. Joe teaches Miguel and his family how to read, and Miguel teaches Joe how to farm coffee.

The whole story is centered around the concept that hard work pays off. Joe discovers the higher quality of coffee Miguel makes, due to his more difficult methods. And while it may not be efficient, it’s a much higher quality. Which, in Joe’s eyes, as an ex-farmer, is worth it. So, wishing to farm again, Joe begins to teach Miguel and his family how to read and write so they may negotiate better terms with their buyers. In return, Miguel lets Joe help him farm.

Joe had at last, found his true calling once more. Farming. Miguel had taught him what it meant to be a true farmer again, without all the pesticides and crazy machines. But with tools and hard work. On the flipside, Joe taught Miguel how to read and write.  His children could write their names, and the contracts were understandable. At this point, a sudden respect for the others skills began to evolve in Joe and Miguel. They had learned a lot from each other.

My personal favorite part of the story was the way in which they portrayed Miguel’s sudden respect for the book in Joe’s hand. The way in which his curiosity seemed to peak at that moment was very well done, or so I believe. Though this was more of a light moral fable, this book was pleasant all the same. It reminded me the pleasure of standing back from a job well done and admiring your work.

Nice and thought-inducing, this story has a vibrant emphasise on nature’s aesthetic beauty.   While it’s not an action-packed book with a clear hero and villain, it makes the reader think about the way in which one does things.  This was a calm and easy-going read, with an interesting way of delivering the moral.

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