Ugh. If this hadn't been my final "Snakes and Ladders" book I'd have DNF'd it. This is essentially a Puerto Rican version of House of the Spirits minus magical realism, plus a plethora of characters and episodes that don't greatly advance the plot (think 500-episode telenovela) and a whole lot of telling instead of showing. That isn't to say I learned nothing at all about Puerto Rico, its people and its history -- indeed, the island itself was by far this book's most interesting, believable, fully elaborated and just plain likeable character -- but by and large, I'd have accomplished more by reading a nonfiction history book or a travel guide about Puerto Rico ... or by going there to see it for myself. (Which I'm still hoping to do at some point.)
Nevertheless, I've enjoyed my "Snakes and Ladders" run enormously -- a huge thanks to Moonlight Reader for her spur-of-the-moment inspiration in initiating this game!
(Charlie and Sunny also say thank you for the exercise and all the snacks along the way.)