Chapa toggles between Annie’s third-person voice and her granddaughter’s (named Alice in the book) first-person voice as it covers five decades of intimate history. Annie bears three children, navigates marriage hiccups, struggles to learn how to read and write (which, due to a suspected case of dyslexia, never fully happens) and works hard in a number of different jobs, including being a janitor at Alice’s school. For her part, Alice is inspired by her grandmother to study and learn as much as she can, culminating in acceptance to the University of Texas at Austin—ultimately, she’s the first person in her family to graduate from college.
Annie’s horrific abuse, described in frank language, makes this a tough read: Readers will find it challenging to accept that a father could fail his child so willfully, but they will be humbled by Annie’s grit, resolve, and her ability to power through even the most awful situations—and by her beloved granddaughter’s love and admiration. In fact, the title comes from ants’ ability to lift more than 100 times their body weight—much like Annie. Chapa pays beautiful tribute to the importance of family and one courageous woman in particular with this heartfelt and heart-wrenching tale.
Takeaway: This heartbreaking yet ultimately inspirational story personifies tenacity and the will to survive.
Great for fans of: Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called It, K.L. Randis’s Spilled Milk.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-