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Judging A Book By Its Cover

The Tortilla Factory; Judging A Book By Its Cover

The Tortilla Factory

By Gary Paulsen

The Tortilla Factory

To understand the book, you must understand some code words. We went to the U.S. Forrest Service for some insight on the lingo of the book, and they supplied us with the following list of terms.

  1. Tortilla. A Mexican term for  a marijuana plant.
  2. Tortilla Factory. A Mexican term for a United States National Park.
  3. Tecate Beer. A Mexican name for Tecate Beer.
  4. Spanish Music. A term used to describe when a Mexican yells out "Hey homes, the cops are coming".
  5. Mexican. Drug dealer.


Thus, I assumed this book was going to be a classic thriller about an under cover agent working inside a Mexican drug cartel. I was all ready for some exciting, goose bump inducing action as our hero risks being exposed as an under-cover agent. Would he catch the drug dealers before they discovered who he was? Would he be executed before the Feds moved in to shut down the operation? Or best yet, I love it when the bad guys find out who he is just as the law is moving in. There's that dramatic scene where he is drug in before the crime boss with the knife to his neck as his capture explains "Hey boss, we found this in his pocket" and produces a shiney badge and you're all like "Why the hell did he take that with him on an undercover operation". Then, just as the boss is about to put a bullet right between his eyes, the feds clip the wire (notice, the compound is always fed electricity by a single wire) and the place goes dark. Then, there's some thrashing around and cussing and screaming and the lights come back on and he's gone. Oh, the drama. Oh yes, there will be drama.

I was so excited. I got a big mug of tea and my snuggie and headed to the couch with my book for a quiet night of looking at the cover. Man, was I disappointed.  It turned out to be a National Parks guide for Mexican immigrants.


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