Maya’s Notebook is a startling novel of suspense from New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende.
This contemporary coming-of-age story centers upon Maya Vidal, a remarkable teenager abandoned by her parents. Maya grew up in a rambling old house in Berkeley with her grandmother Nini, whose formidable strength helped her build a new life after emigrating from Chile in 1973 with a young son, and her grandfather Popo, a gentle African-American astronomer.
When Popo dies, Maya goes off the rails. Along with a circle of girlfriends known as "the vampires," she turns to drugs, alcohol, and petty crime--a downward spiral that eventually leads to Las Vegas and a dangerous underworld, with Maya caught between warring forces: a gang of assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol.
Her one chance for survival is Nini, who helps her escape to a remote island off the coast of Chile. In the care of her grandmother’s old friend, Manuel Arias, and surrounded by strange new acquaintances, Maya begins to record her story in her notebook, as she tries to make sense of her past and unravel the mysteries of her family and her own life.
It is a good person who is a world renowned author, but says her best achievement is not her books, but the love she shares with a few people, especially her family, and having always tried to help people. Such are the thoughts of Isabel Allende, a Chilean author who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Hussein Obama. She has written: The House of the Spirits, and City of the Beasts. Her novels are considered to be the genre of magical realism. They are usually based on her own experiences, historical events, and pay homage to the lives of women. She also uses elements of myth and realism.
Allende was born in Lima, Peru. Her father was a cousin to Salvador Allende, the President of Chile from 1970 to 1973. Her father left her mother, so Isabel ended up moving to many places when her mother married a diplomat. In 1962 Isabel married an engineering student, when she moved back to Chile to complete her secondary education. She then led a dual life as obedient wife and mother, but in public was Barbara Cartland, well-known tv personality, a dramatist, and journalist with a feminine magazine.
Allende had jobs with the United Nations in Santiago, then Brussels and elsewhere. In Chile she translated books from English to Spanish, but was fired because she made some changes on her own (which were not appreciated) and was altering some endings from "happily ever after", to allow the heroine some independence to do good in the world.
She now runs the Isabel Allende Foundation, founded in 1996 to honor the author's daughter Paula Frias, who passed away at age 29. They award life-changing grants to women to improve their care.