It was so hard to get through– the translation was so weird and made me feel like very word of it was being read to me by fat Sgt. Garcia from the 1950’s Zorro TV show that was always on the Disney Channel when I was a kid.
The Underdogs is supposed to be the great novel of the Mexican revolution, but more than that it is a book about the failures of the revolution. One gets the impression that Azuela really meant to undermine the Mexican revolution by writing it.
The tales it tells, kind of episodically, are about the heroism of the revolutionaries, then about their brutality as they rape and pillage their way through village after village.
The stories Mariano Azuela tells, especially with regard to Camilla, a woman whose life is greatly affected by this particular band of revolutionaries, are cut and dry. They’re meant to be told that way, too, and it was very effective. When she’s mistreated by the revolutionaries it is as though the author himself doesn’t give a shit about her. I feel like that itself was one of the strengths of the book.
These men, they start off with nothing, they fight back, and then forget what they’re fighting for. It was a devastating read. If you’re interested in a short book that’ll take you a long time because, seriously, it really is no fun at all to read, then The Underdogs is for you.