A closeup look at an immigrant community as they deal with universal life experiences.
This book avoids most of the cliches I always find in books about Latinos. The novel shows well rounded characters and the story develops through the actions of the characters instead of by some by-the-numbers plot. It is a very sad story but also a story of kindness and love.
Overall, The Book of Unknown Americans is a lovely and poignant tale. The primary narratives, told through the alternating voices of Alma and Mayor, were a pleasure to read. The secondary narratives, chapters entwined with the primary ones told in many different voices, were sometimes a little too clichéd and simple, although their purpose became clear in the end.
I loved the character development in this book. I loved the way the characters lives came together differently - all tied together by that apartment complex in Delaware. I wished it didn't end when/where it did, but I have recommended it dozens of times since I got past about page 10 and knew I was captivated. It helps to know some Spanish when reading this book.
It is a story of immigrants anywhere in the world. Hope, confusion, clinging to culture, hoping for acceptance, only to be rejected by their own kids, who desperately want to blend in with the new world. Some of the chapters of individual point of views are a little forced to be there. It is still a good read.
A fascinating exploration of the Latino immigrant experience in the U.S. The author vividly portrays the everyday shocks of life in an unfamiliar culture, and I enjoyed getting to know the characters of the Rivera and Toro families. However, I did find the intermittent chapters narrated from the viewpoints of secondary characters to be a little distracting, and the ending seemed a bit rushed to me. But I still highly recommend this book for its richly drawn setting and empathetic depiction of the immigrant experience.
In this time of immigration chaos, this is a great book to read that humanizes the people that are so often demeaned and dismissed by politicians and community members who see only stereotypes for those seeking a better life. While it doesn't provide any answers to how best to deal with immigration, it at least has the narrative to perhaps take it to a better level of discussion and compassion. I thought the main story read more like a very good YA novel but the back stories to the characters were very illuminating. It reminded me of Orange is the New Black when they give the vignettes of how the women wound up in jail. I loved this book and see how it could be a great tool in any high school civics class. This is a book that can help build bridges for anyone interested in trying to understand issues of immigration. Everyone should read this book.
Immigrants from Mexico and Central American tell about their experience living in the United States.
The story showcases Alma, Arturo and Maribel, a small family who dreams of a better life after Maribel suffers brain damage in an accident.
This is a moving story about a group of Hispanic immigrants from various Latin countries and their integration in the American culture. The writer draws you into the families and make you feel like you are there with them rooting for them to make it in this strange land. I was very disappointed when the book ended, because I felt that I was leaving some of my family behind.
This is the first book I have read by Cristina Henriquez and I know that I will be seeking out her past books for future reading.
Her writing is crisp and clear, the voices in the story are strong and the dialogue in the story reels you in so that you are unable to put this book down. The vignettes that provide poignant insights in to the lives of a variety of immigrants from across Latin America are woven in to the story so artfully that they enhance the main storyline of Maribel, her parents and that of Mayor and his parents without interrupting the flow of events.
Besides being a good story, this book provides lots of food for thought and discussion about the importance of family, parental love, and how immigrants are viewed in America today, especially if they are hispanic.
Likely to be a top pick for book groups in the months to come.