The former president of an unnamed Latin American country wonders if he should reveal the strange secret of his survival during imprisonment: by discussing revolution, dignity, and love, with a loud-mouth frog.
[De Robertis'] admiration for her protagonist is so absolute that at times she reduces him to a set of irreproachable — and bloodless — ideals ... Still, this is a moving, deeply felt novel, especially in the president’s excruciating (and sometimes humorous) encounters with his strangely healing frog. De Robertis daringly invites us to imagine a man’s Promethean struggle to wrest control of his broken psyche under the most dire circumstances possible.
Without ever naming him outright, The President and the Frog takes [José 'Pepe'] Mujica’s stranger-than-fiction life story and imbues it with a quirky, mystical grace ... Deep, hilarious, tangential ... While De Robertis’ choice not to name the people and places of her novel may be viewed as stylistic bandwagoning, it allows her to remain engaged with the 'once upon a time' dreaminess with which her novel kicks off. Yet it is perhaps because the novel is inspired by a real man’s life that it ultimately succeeds. The President and the Frog reminds us that hope can be found anywhere, even in the most wretched conditions.