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The Barbarian Nurseries

The Barbarian Nurseries is a fiction novel written by Hector Tobar. The story has a plot that many can relate to but with a twist. Even though the story is fiction you could see some elements pointing to reality. The story is centered on a housekeeper that works in the home of a married couple with two sons. The housekeeper, named Araceli, works in the home six days a week and earns just $250 for her work. She does everything from cooking, cleaning and helping out with the kids.

The kids parents leave suddenly one day, she is left with the child alone and decides to set out to look for their grandfather who is Mexican-American. She is not sure where he lives or what he looks like, but she has an old photo she uses to help her. The housekeeper and the two boys travel throughout the city of Los Angeles in hopes of finding who that are searching for. Yet, their travels bring them across a number of people and places that seem strange and out of the ordinary. The parents of the children are later learned to have engaged in other activities.

The father left home and ended up at the home of a co-worker playing video games for days. The boys’ mother went to a spa. The author of the novel spends a considerable amount of time helping readers understand their position and why they left their home. They deal with financial and parental responsibilities that seem to have gotten the best of them. This is content people can understand, but at the same time many people wish they had a housekeeper to help them deal with their household. Throughout her journey, Araceli judges others on how they live their lives despite them supporting her of what she is doing for the boys.

The story ends with the parents returning home to find the boys and the housekeeper gone. They notify authorities and media frenzy begins. At this point the story gets interesting because readers know what happened to the boys and the parents have no clue. Their quiet home life becomes public drama. While the housekeeper had good intentions of helping the boys during their time of need, it seems they would have been better off at home. The housekeeper could have called authorities when the parents didn’t come home. But why didn’t the author have the character do this instead?


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