The Muse Book Review Archives

Ahora Hablo reviewed by Susan Stephenson
Interview with Marcus Damanda by Pamela Jenewein
Loss of Innocence reviewed by Cheryl Malandrinos
Audio Classes by DDP reviewed by Lea Schizas
Interview with Michael Perronne
Cholesterol Down by Janet Bond Brill reviewed by Gene Berger
Diverting the Buddha reviewed by Barbara Ehrentreu
Launch Out Into the Deep reviewed by Mary Schneider
The Life Organizer reviewed by Alice Berger
Sixty-Minute Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing reviewed by Marcia Berneger
Swapping Paint reviewed by Christine I. Speakman
Through the Ages and The Sun is Hot reviewed by Christine Speakman


Book Review of ˇAhora Hablo! Travel Edition, Seven Simple Steps to Authentic Spanish by M.H.Graham

(available from for $12.95 )


I consider myself the perfect person to review Meg Graham’s book, ˇAhora Hablo!– Seven Simple Steps to Authentic Spanish. Until now, my two words of Spanish came from Speedy Gonzales.  If this book can teach me to get by in Latin countries, it’s a sure-fire hit.


My first impression is favourable. We are definitely not talking some weighty tome – slender and light, ˇAhora Hablo! fits my backpack perfectly. Spiral binding makes it more practical than conventional paperbacks, which end up with broken spines. The glossy cover looks as if it would repel enchilada juice and the occasional splash of tequila.


The book is set out simply and clearly. After 20 years teaching Spanish, it’s not surprising that Meg knows her stuff. I looked in vain for pages telling me that the pen of my aunt was on the bureau of my uncle. Meg has stuck strictly to the basics, giving the traveller common vocabulary and just enough grammar for understanding. The spaces for notes on many pages are a great idea if you need a helpful local to jot down directions or the name of a food.


Meg’s phonetic key is based on English pronunciation. I learn to pronounce ˇCuidado! (Look out!) as “kwee-dah-doe”. She encourages readers to “create their own ideas in authentic Spanish” and soon I am proclaiming to all and sundry that “El inodoro no funciona.” (The toilet doesn’t work.) That phrase would have been so handy on earlier travels!


I spend a rainy Sunday afternoon, reading and studying ˇAhora Hablo!– Seven Simple Steps to Authentic Spanish. I move from Speedy’s andale and arriba to mastering several useful expressions and having a rudimentary idea of word order and pronunciation. Better still, I gain an understanding of how to use the book and where to find what I need. Meg Graham gives me the confidence and knowledge to get started in Spanish.


Wherever I travel, I try to learn a little of that country’s language. This habit has won me friends all over the world and helped me navigate a way through problems. It has also led me into some bizarre conversations, but that’s been part of the adventure. Now I’ve put South America on my must-visit list for next year.


After all, I have to try my Spanish skills sometime.


Susan Stephenson ©2007

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